The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has said the telcos have made “huge strides” in the past 100 days to ensure that the instances of dropped calls are minimised. It notes that in June, the telecom operators had presented the Communication Minister with a 100-day plan. As part of the plan, the telcos 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.
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The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) today reaffirmed the telecom operators’ commitment to improving the call drops situation in the country, saying huge strides have been made in the past 100 days to ensure instances of dropped calls are minimized. The association, representing all top mobile operators of India, said the 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.
Speaking about the industry’s efforts towards improving the call drops situation, Rajan S Mathews, Director General, 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 had set up about 1,29,101 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 also spent close to Rs.8,50,00 crore, which is also more than the committed amount.
“The industry has stood by its commitment of spending Rs. 12,000 crore to improve network quality,” Mr. Mathews said. “It will continue to invest more and augment its current outlay to ensure that people are given the best quality of service, particularly for those areas where connectivity is still a challenge. We are working closely with all concerned authorities to ensure processes are expedited so that towers can be installed at locations where there is a need”.
Mathews said “We appreciate the support provided by Mr J.S Deepak and the Department of Telecom. Under his leadership the department has been extremely supportive and has helped address several challenges for the industry. We continue to need the government’s assistance for obtaining sites in the government buildings and locations. 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. It is this type of constructive partnership that will ultimately address the network issue of call drops faced by the industry and the citizens. Greater sensitisation of the MCD and NDMC is still the need of the hour as MCD continues to shut down sites and NDMC is yet to release them to the industry. Out of 115 sites applied, no sites have materialised.
The COAI statement came after CEOs of telecom companies met the Communications Minister to apprise him of the progress of the 100-day plan and to discuss the roadmap for the future of telecommunications network in the country. Many points were discussed in the meeting, including the challenges faced by operators in setting up towers.
Telecom operators are making substantial investments and putting in all the required effort to ensure that the issue of call drops can soon become a thing of the past. To achieve that, they will need the Government’s support to ensure that clearances are given wherever there is a need to set up and expand infrastructure. COAI’s endeavour is to make India a fully connected and digitally empowered nation and all our member operators are fully committed to the Government’s Digital India vision.