Govt tells Trai to examine telcos’ tariff plans to check call drops
NEW DELHI: The government has asked telecom regulator Trai to examine the tariff plans of mobile companies to check whether they are making undue gains from call drops, while instructing the operators to not divert spectrum capacity towards profit-intensive data services at the cost of voice calls.
A day after telecom company chiefs — including CEOs of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea and Reliance Communications — cited spectrum and tower shortages as main reasons behind call drops, the government hit back on Tuesday, saying “these cannot be the basis for providing poor” services.
Rakesh Garg, secretary at the telecom ministry, said: ” Trai will examine all tariff plans and packages to see if telecom companies get incentives out of call drops. If that is the case, then we will see whether it is possible that such packages are not there.”
The government has taken a stern view of the growing problem of call drops, as this has been increasing over the past few months despite repeated warnings and consumer complaints. Garg said the government is also considering to make it mandatory for telecom companies to compensate consumers in case of a dropped calls and this is also part of the exercise that Trai will undertake. ” Some (telecom) companies have a system to give a call free for every dropped call. This measure proves to be a disincentive for operators when they provide deficient services. We have requested Trai to see whether we can make this practice mandatory for all telecom service providers.”
The move, industry analysts say, will not be taken kindly by telcos and ” has the potential to run into litigations” as identifying the reasons for below-par services can be tricky. Garg also said the operators should ensure that they do not divert spectrum capacities towards boosting mobile data speeds while ignoring voice calls. ” Priority should be given to voice. Data can wait.”
Also, he said that investments into telecom equipment need to be made continuously to provide better mobile services. ” There are many companies which are going slow in making investments on equipment… You cannot delay investments.”