Telecoms need to invest in networks to handle call drops

Telecommunications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Indian telecoms need to optimize their mobile networks to handle the call drops related issues.

Recommendations are awaited from the sector watchdog on penalising or incentivising telecom operators on service quality but there is a urgent need for firms to upgrade infrastructure to tackle the call drop menace, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the government expects telecom service providers to undertake a special drive for radio frequency optimisation of their network followed by periodic checks as per the need to address call-drop problems.

“We have to take the call-drop issue very seriously. As a minister, I am accountable to consumers of the country. Telecom service providers shall be asked to undertake a special drive for radio frequency optimisation of their network followed by periodic optimisation as per need,” he said.

Prasad also said that a special audit of quality of service parameters to assess the gravity of the problem will be carried out by the telecom department through its Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cells in all metro and state capitals.

“It would help us understand the problem and what should be done,” he added.

The minister, however, did not mention any time frame to start the auditing process.
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Noting that a large proportion of mobile traffic is generated indoors and the cellular signals need to be enhanced to enable them to penetrate building walls, he said In Building Solutions (IBS) are used globally to overcome coverage issues. “We are trying to focus on this.”

He added that he has requested the telecom secretary to approach the urban development ministry so that it can in turn implement this.

“Telecom department would approach the urban development ministry to enable IBS through a shared, common facility for all the telecom service providers in all central government buildings located in metropolitan cities and capital cities where population density is high. Similarly, requests would be sent to all state governments and all central PSEs to provide IBS in all government/ CPSE premise,” the minister said.

Prasad also mentioned that telecom department would approach the ministry and the New Delhi Municipal Council to facilitate the use of government buildings for installation of mobile towers on specific terms and conditions and through an appropriate methodology.

State-run MTNL was approached by the telecom department to set up a tower on the telecom ministry building and the minister confirmed that the company has agreed to do so.

Saying that it is primarily the responsibility of the telecom service providers to address the issue of call drops, he added: “Keeping in view the Digital India mission, I would urge the service providers to reinforce their services. It is in their business interest to facilitate the network.”

“Talk of call drops and removal of towers cannot go together,” the minister asserted.

He mentioned that Indian government has adopted the limits for basic restriction and limiting reference levels of electromagnetic radiation from mobile towers which are 10 times more stringent than the limits prescribed by International Commission in Non Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines and recommended by the World Health Organisation.