Call drops: PM directs officials to address issue urgently

NEW DELHI: With the call drop problem worsening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed officials to address the issue urgently even as the government on Tuesday promised help to telecom operators in optimising their networks.

Reviewing the status of mobile connectivity in the country, Modi expressed serious concern over the issue of call drops, which he observed, directly affects the common man, a PMO statement said about the meeting held last evening.

He asked officials as to what was being done to address the problem and directed them that steps be taken urgently to resolve the problem.

The Prime Minister also asked the officials to ensure that the problems in voice connectivity do not extend to data connectivity in the future, the statement said.

Meanwhile, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked mobile operators to optimise their networks and promised full support on policy front including on installation of towers.

“…whatever is necessary for policy, we will do, like installation of mobile towers on government buildings, speaking against radiation fears. So, what is required from the government, we will do. “I expect operators should also do what is required to reinforce their system, optimise their networks,” Prasad told reporters on the sidelines of an event at Greater Noida near Delhi.

The problem of frequent call drops has worsened in the recent months. Telecom operators have cited shutting down of mobile towers and radiation fears, as also lack of spectrum, as the major reasons for call drops.

The operators have said that about 7,000-10,000 sites have been locked or shut down across major cities and have sought a uniform national policy for installation of mobile towers.

Speaking at the same event, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma said a consultation paper on call drops will be issued in a fortnight wherein all stakeholders can give their comments.

Regarding a disincentive mechanism for call drops, Sharma said the regulator is looking at it and TRAI is also examining various tariff plans of the telecom operators.

Government had asked TRAI to suggest disincentives for call drops and also examine the tariff plans of operators to ascertain whether they were incentivising call drops. The industry has refuted the charge of deliberately promoting call drops.

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