After the move by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to penalise telecom operators for every call dropped was set aside by the Supreme Court (See: Call drops: SC tells Trai to study technical papers), a consultation paper may be in works to tighten call drop norms, says a CNBC-TV18 report.
Sources say Trai is evaluating options to make the call drop benchmark rate more stringent. In the consultation paper, the regulator may propose stricter call drop benchmark of less than the current rate of 2 per cent. Trai is likely to seek comments from stakeholders by way of a consultation paper to explore setting the benchmark range from as low as 0.5 to 1.5 per cent.
More importantly, it is thinking of having the call drop rate measured per Base Transceiver Station (BTS), instead of licensed service area. The idea is to measure the call drop average in smaller units rather than larger service areas in order to get a more accurate figure to gauge call drops. The consultation paper is likely to be issued very soon.
If implemented, this move will further bring telcos under the regulatory glare and will force operators to tackle network quality issues more seriously.
On the ground, telcos are not meeting the under 2 per cent call drop benchmark in most cities, including Delhi and Mumbai. Trai's test drive test results in Mumbai suggests most operators are not meeting the call drop rate benchmark except Airtel 2G and 3G and Vodafone 2G. Idea Cellular's call drop rate in January was as high as 7 per cent, which has come down to 5 per cent in May. The call drop rate for Vodafone 3G improved to 2.29 per cent in May against over 5 per cent in January, still higher than the benchmark 2 per cent.
If these call drop figures are to go by, the regulator's proposed move to reduce the benchmark to sub-2 per cent, will be far from achievable for telcos.