comscore Call drop: COAI blames delay in clearances for poor services

Call drop: COAI blames delay in clearances for poor services

  • Published: December 14, 2015 7:39 PM IST

Telecom industry Monday blamed “delay” in getting clearances from the authorities for installation of mobile towers and increasing data usage by subscribers for the call drop problem. Telecom industry body COAI said that due to delay in getting clearances from the Centre and the state authorities, they could set up only 20,000-25,000 towers in last two years against requirement of 1 lakh sites. The industry body also ascribed call drop issue to heavy usage of data on mobile phones in the “absence” of alternative infrastructure to support growing data demand. Also Read - Telecom Minister blames people obstructing mobile tower installation for call drops

Also Read - Call drops in Delhi to rise as MCD seals 566 towers

“The significant problem is the approval (for towers) …it takes about 9-10 months, six months from Centre and 3 months from local authorities in states, in getting approval for putting up towers,” COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told reporters. Also Read - Telecom service providers commit Rs 74,000 crore to arrest call drops

“If you look at last two years, we required one lakh towers nationally and we were able to put up 20,000-25,000 towers,” he said.

His comments come soon after a stern warning by Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to operators on the call drop issue. The Minister yesterday said that it was not his “job to find towers” and the companies must improve their networks, or face serious action. Noting that inadequate spectrum was also posing problems, Mathews also pointed out that heavy fee along with rising rental for towers in the states was a cause of concern for the telecom industry.

“You look at the local municipalities which are cash strapped and always look for raising resources and this industry is their prime candidate,” he said, adding that the industry had to shell out one-time fee ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per tower, besides monthly rent and maintenance expenditure.

However, he rejected the argument of danger to health by electromagnetic field. Mathews said that mobile connections in the country are around one billion and 4-6 million connections are adding per month. “The industry is growing at a rate of 12-15 percent.

Though growth in voice is flattening out barring few places.”

Shift from voice to data usage has also posed a challenge for the industry in resolving the problem of call drop.

“Data usage in increasing…(In case of data usage), problem is hard to predict as how much load is going to come. This is the problem which causes dynamic congestion at various places and with heavy video download, there may be call drop,” he said.

ALSO READ: Telecom companies must ensure that their services are good: Ravi Shankar Prasad

However, in other countries, to support the heavy usage of data, there was an alternative infrastructure like landline connections, satellite, cable network are in place, But here, it depends upon cellular operator, he said. Mathews also said mobile handsets available in grey market were also one of the challenges for the industry.

“One of the challenges is phones handsets in grey market. Your handset is dynamically supposed to adjust for power output so the closer it is to a tower, the less power output. Further, it increases power output. When a phone does not reduce its power, it becomes a magnet for more data and more usage,” he said.

“We are now extremely concerned about grey market phones which accounts for 30 percent of total market,” he said.

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  • Published Date: December 14, 2015 7:39 PM IST

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