The Department of Telecom and Urban Development Ministry have agree in-principle to permit installation of mobile towers at government buildings, a move that may reduce the problem of call drops.
A meeting was held on July 22 between DoT and Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) on this issue. "...it has been in-principle agreed that MoUD shall permit installation of mobile towers/in-building solutions in government buildings under their control subject to structural safety and payment of appropriate licence fee by the telecom service providers (TSP)," Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to Lok Sabha today.
Such mobile towers should be a shared facility for all operators, he said, adding that to prevent call drops, installation of more towers is necessary. "While the operators need to optimise and reinforce their networks, extensive campaign on radiation issue is dissuading the people from allowing towers to be installed," Prasad said.
Further, the minister said, DoT has pro-actively engaged in allaying the apprehensions of adverse effects on health due to EMF radiations from mobile towers. Prasad said MoUD and Chief Ministers have been addressed for providing single window clearances, space in government lands and buildings for mobile sites, speedy right of way (RoW) clearances and ensuring 24x7 power.
DoT had convened meetings with telecom operators in April as well as second week of July on the call drop issue, wherein they have been asked to take immediate measures to address the problem by radio frequency optimisation, installation of new sites and in-building solutions as per the requirement.
Prasad said that in order to assess the gravity of problem of call drops, the TERM cells have been asked to take up special audit to assess the coverage or quality of service in metro or capital cities of all mobile operators network in respect of key performance indicators. "In addition to the existing provision of financial disincentives to TSPs for failing to meet the quality of service benchmark parameters prescribed by TRAI...on the issue of compensating consumers for dropped calls, TRAI's views has been sought by DoT," the Minister added.
The minister also shared information on number of complaints received by TRAI against various telcos relating to call drop and poor network connectivity. Prasad said till June 30 this year, there were 211 complaints against Airtel, 169 against Vodafone and 81 against RCom. The number of complaints against Idea stood at 46, 48 for Tata, 43 for BSNL, 14 for Aircel, 19 for MTS and 10 for MTNL.