Telecom secretary asks operators to improve quality of service
In the wake of increased number of public complaints of call drops and inflated bills, Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg has asked operators to immediately address customer grievances and improve network.
“The Secretary (Telecom) briefed the telecom service providers (TSPs) about the falling perception in the public with regard to poor quality of telecom services in the country in general and with special emphasis on degrading quality in metros,” an official statement stated.
The secretary spoke about the perception in the public that call drops in network are a deliberate attempt of service providers for commercial gains and charging a customer multiple times for calls, according to the statement.
Garg also shared complaints about the ‘not so transparent’ current billing system of telecom operators and frequent changes in the package rates without consent of the customer, contrary to the initially agreed arrangement. “In the case of international roaming, TSPs do not have any warning system about the tariffs to be charged for various applications, e.g., data download, which result in many complaints of heavy charging of the customer. There have been frequent complaints of charging even though the customer has already disconnected or not used the services of the TSPs,’ the statement added.
Telecom operators, on their part, assured Garg that they will do the needful on billing. On the network problem, the players attributed the delay in installing mobile towers to public protest over radiation and delay in permission from local government authorities. The telecom secretary asked companies to take steps to educate people on radiation and said the department of telecom had already taken up issues of telecom operators with state governments.
Striking a similar note earlier this month, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a lot of spectrum was available and companies needed to take into account the concerns raised by consumers on call drops and other problems. The minister said he would ask telecom regulator TRAI to look into the matter if consumers continued to raise concerns, even as he hoped that there would be a ‘negligible impact’ of just about 1.3 paise per minute on call tariffs from the recent spectrum auction.
"A very good expert whom I respect shared with me that Indian consumers make mobile calls worth 350 minutes. The spectrum price paid by companies is for 20 years. If you divide that by 20 years, the yearly impact come to about Rs 5,300 crore on industry whose annual revenue is Rs 2 lakh crore plus," Prasad said. He said that further dividing the Rs 5,300 crore by average minutes of call made by consumer, the impact comes to around 1.3 paise.