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NEW DELHI: Con­cerned about the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing call drop sit­u­a­tion, the De­part­ment of Tele­com (DOT) will hold sep­a­rate meet­ings with op­er­a­tors as well as the sec­tor reg­u­la­tor TRAI on Jan­uary 10, to dis­cuss the is­sue.

Tele­com Sec­re­tary Aruna Sun­darara­jan said the meet­ing with CEOS of tele­com com­pa­nies will dis­cuss the cur­rent "sit­u­a­tion on call drops" as well as the new ser­vice qual­ity rules im­ple­mented by the Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity of In­dia (TRAI) in Oc­to­ber last year.

DOT will also sep­a­rately meet the reg­u­la­tor the same day (that is, Jan­uary 10) to dis­cuss the is­sues re­lated to call qual­ity.

"We want to com­mu­ni­cate to the op­er­a­tors, the con­cerns of the Govern­ment on the state of call drops...we will ask ser­vice providers to get their act to­gether," Sun­darara­jan told re­porters on the side­lines of a Bharat Net event.

The call qual­ity sit­u­a­tion has de­te­ri­o­rated, she said cit­ing in­creas­ing num­ber of con­sumer com­plaints.

Over the last two years, ser­vice qual­ity in tele­com has been a burn­ing is­sue. In 2016, the reg­u­la­tor had even or­dered op­er­a­tors to com­pen­sate users for call drops (Re 1 for each call dropped) but the mis­sive was struck down by the Supreme Court.

The Tele­com De­part­ment had in a se­ries of meet­ings over the last few quar­ters asked tel­cos to un­der­take im­me­di­ate mea­sures to im­prove call qual­ity, in­clud­ing set­ting up ad­di­tional mo­bile tow­ers across the coun­try.

"The ser­vice providers had made com­mit­ments on im­prov­ing the in­fra­struc­ture... call drop has an impact on con­sumers," Sun­darara­jan added.

The meet­ing with tele­com in­dus­try CEOS will be chaired by the DOT Sec­re­tary.

Stat­ing that new call drop norms have now come into ef­fect, the sec­re­tary said the Govern­ment is con­stantly "mon­i­tor­ing" the sit­u­a­tion.

Un­der TRAI'S new Qual­ity of Ser­vice (QOS) for­mula, tele­com op­er­a­tors may face a max­i­mum penalty of Rs 10 lakh for call drops which will be mea­sured at mo­bile tower level in­stead of tele­com cir­cle level.

The new call drop rules came into force from Oc­to­ber 1 and the De­cem­ber quar­ter will see the first in­stance of re­port­ing un­der the new for­mula.

Mean­while, Tele­com Com­mis­sion, the high­est de­ci­sion­mak­ing body of the Tele­com De­part­ment, will meet on Tues­day to dis­cuss mul­ti­ple is­sues in­clud­ing a pro­posal for rais­ing of spec­trum caps, as rec­om­mended by the reg­u­la­tor.

The TRAI has sug­gested re­moval of ceil­ing on spec­trum held by mo­bile op­er­a­tors within a par­tic­u­lar band, while moot­ing a 50 per cent cap on com­bined ra­diowave hold­ing in ef­fi­cient bands like 700 MHZ, 800 MHZ and 900 MHZ.

Sun­darara­jan said Tele­com Com­mis­sion will also take up some pro­pos­als re­lat­ing to IMG (In­ter­min­is­te­rial Group) re­port, wi-fi roll­out un­der broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity project Bharat Net, and in­creas­ing con­nec­tiv­ity in An­daman and Ni­co­bar Is­lands.

It may be re­called that IMG in its re­port to the Govern­ment last year had rec­om­mended giv­ing one-time op­por­tu­nity to tel­cos to opt for more num­ber of in­stal­ments (16 years in­stead of the cur­rent 10) for pay­ment of spec­trum.

Other rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude eas­ing the in­ter­est rate on de­layed pay­ment of li­cense fee and spec­trum us­age charges.

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