Parliament panel to discuss call-drops issue with telcos, Trai and DoT

A parliamentary panel has called a meeting of telecom operators along with the Department of Telecom and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to discuss the contentious issue of call drops that continue unabated in spite of serious efforts by sector regulator Trai.

A Parliamentary panel has called telecom operators along with the Department of Telecom and sector regulator TRAI for a meeting on November 10 to discuss the raging call drop issue.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, has called members of industry body COAI and Reliance Jio separately.

The decision comes in the wake of a raging controversy between new entrant Reliance Jio and incumbent telcom majors such as Bharti Airetel and Vodafone over interconnection points that Jio says, are disadvantaging its optimal rollout and service quality.

Reliance Jio, also a member of Cellular Operators Association of India, has blamed the industry body for promulgating views of mainly incumbent telecom operators - Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

The subject of the meeting is 'Issues related to quality of services and reported call drops', according to a Lok Sabha notice. The panel will ''hear the views of the representatives of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Reliance Jio, followed by meeting with representatives of DoT and The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio says incumbent telecom operators are not providing adequate interconnection facility, leading to heavy call drops on its network.

Jio has claimed that over 75 per cent of calls on its network are failing as incumbents were not giving sufficient points of interconnect that would help complete calls.

Interconnection enables mobile users to make calls to customers of other networks and is, therefore, crucial for smooth functioning of mobile services. As per the quality of service rules, not more than five calls in 1,000 should fail due to network congestion.

Trai has since recommended a penalty of Rs3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, holding them responsible for congestion on Reliance Jio network leading to call drops.

As per Trai recommendation, the penalty for Airtel and Vodafone work out to about Rs1,050 crore each, while in case of Idea Cellular it comes to about Rs950 crore.

The regulator stopped short of recommending cancellation of their telecom licences saying it may lead to ''significant consumer inconvenience''.