Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) today said the Indian telecom industry had exceeded the target of setting up base transceiver stations (BTSs) to address the call drops issue, and the industry would continue to make all the investment necessary to ensure quality of service is not compromised.
COAI represents telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone India, Aircel, Telenor, among others.
Rajan S Mathews, director general of COAI, said, “Most operators have executed the 100-day plan that was submitted to the Communications Minister Shri Manoj Sinha in June, and the results are evident in the decreased numbers of call drops in the country.”
The telecom operators had in June presented the Communications Minister a 100-day plan in which they had committed to an investment of Rs 12,000 crore for installing 60,000 BTS in the country to address the issue of call drops that was causing inconvenience to consumers.
In about four months, the industry set up about 129,101 BTS, exceeding the target set by double the number. The total BTS in the country stood at 13,45,470. In this time, operators have spent close to Rs 8,50,00 crore, which is also more than the committed amount.
The problem persists in areas like Lutyens’ Delhi and parts of South Delhi, where telecom operators are working with the municipal authorities to set up more towers so people can experience seamless connectivity in these places without having to worry about bad pockets.
“We would request government’s intervention to locate cell sites on Government buildings and land, Postal Department Facilities and defence properties, as access to these sites still eludes the industry. MCD continues to shut down sites and NDMC is yet to release them to the industry. Out of 115 sites applied, no sites have materialized,” said Mathews.
Telecom minister on call drop issue
Communications Minister Manoj Sinha on Tuesday said the government is planning to set up a platform in the next one month through which subscribers can directly give their feedback on call drops.
“We are setting up a platform through which the consumers will be able to directly give their feedback to the government, especially regarding call drops,” Sinha told reporters in a press meet.
He was briefing media after holding a meeting with telecom service providers’ CEOs on the call drop issue.
Talking about the 100-day plan floated by the operators where they had assured that 60,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) will be set up with an investment of Rs 12,000 crore, the minister said: “They have met the target of setting up 60,000 BTS, rather exceeded that target.”
Bharti Airtel has installed 22,000 BTS, Idea Cellular, 25,382 and Vodafone, 13,870, the minister said, adding that Reliance Jio, which was not part of the 60,000 BTS plan, has additionally set up 35,000 BTS.
Sinha said call drops should be wiped out from the country.
The telecom operators also discussed the next phase of action for better services with the minister. “Consumers are of paramount importance. They should not be affected,” the minister added.