Don’t blame only telecom companies, blame lack of spectrum and towers for call drops, industry body Assocham laments

Thursday, 30 July 2015 – 1:57pm IST | Place: New Delhi: Coming out in support of telecom operators on the issue of call drops, industry body Assocham said it is unfair to blame them as there are many other critical factors like lack of spectrum and towers which are causing the problem.

“…it is unfair to put the blame on the operators only, since many of the critical factors causing the problem are not within the control of the telecom industry,” Assocham said.

Explaining further, Assocham Telecom Council Chairman T V Ramachandran said, once a cellular network has been set up and stabilised, call drops can only happen either if there is inadequate spectrum or there is not enough networks of towers to achieve satisfactory signal coverage of the service area.

“Regrettably, in India, we suffer from both these serious handicaps,” he said.

A recent report by TRAI has said most of the telecom operators in Delhi and Mumbai are not meeting the prescribed standards regarding call drops.

Department of Telecom had also asked the operators to submit the action taken report on call drops by July 31.

Ramachandran said the problem is more worrisome in Delhi and Mumbai due to unjustified and unfounded concerns in some quarters regarding EMF exposure and the industry is not being allowed to set up cell sites and towers at the right places.

According to TRAI data, at least 523 sites in Delhi and 801 sites in Mumbai were shut down in the past six months due to alleged radiation scares or issues with municipalities.

“As many as 25 towers are shut down each week in Mumbai.

Shutting down one tower would not only affect the 700 or more subscribers attached to the tower but also impact the performance of at least half a dozen towers adjoining the sealed tower,” Assocham said.

The industry body also requested to carry through the spectrum reform processes and make available more spectrum to operators as well as permit spectrum sharing, spectrum trading and a more liberal merger and acquisition.

“All these and the latest initiative for tower installation will surely give a big boost to Digital India and enable customers to have top class mobile services with minimum call drops,” the body said.