Here's how telecom operators are taking on call drops

 Manu Kaushik   New Delhi     Last Updated: February 18, 2018  | 15:47 IST
Here's how telecom operators are taking on call drops

In the light of new norms released by the telecom regulator TRAI to rein in the rising problem of call drops, the telecom operators have their side of the story to tell. Under the new norms, which are stricter than the previous ones, telecom operators may face a maximum penalty of Rs 10 lakh for call drops. Their quality of services will now be measured at the mobile tower level instead of the telecom circle level which means that they will be under greater scrutiny. Telcos have defended their position informing regulators that they have been addressing the problem head-on. Here's what telcos have to say.
1. To keep the call drop rates low, telcos have to invest continuously in networks, that is setting up more cell towers and OFCs (optical fibre cables). In 2017, the telcos have invested around Rs 34,677 crore in setting up 3.46 lakh BTSes.
2. For the areas experiencing call drops more regularly, telcos do constant monitoring and identification of the problem areas. They also do regular optimization of network capacity and coverage. The corrective measures are being taken that includes installing towers, creating additional capacity and network optimization.
3. TRAI's new norms will require major changes in existing systems and processes.
4. Telcos say that the global standards of call drops stand at 2-3 per cent whereas the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has kept the standard call drop rate at 3 per cent. In India, TRAI has set stringent benchmark of 2 per cent for 90 per cent BTSes (base transceiver stations).
5. The major issue with call drop monitoring is that it's done during the busiest hour of the day which does not provide the real picture of the network, and ignores the performance in the remaining 23 hours of the day.
6. Bad weather conditions affect the beaming of the microwave signals which are primarily done for communication between BTSes and the core network. The only alternative to the microwave signals are OFC which are difficult to roll out in a country like India due to RoW (right of way) issues.
7. The telcos face issues in their networks due to installation of jammers or boosters or repeaters in various circles.

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