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Call drops: Trai to once again test compliance by telcos, including Reliance Jio

Trai will publish the results of the drive to check the status of call drops by the end of the December quarter


The previous test drive was conducted in June by the regulator across 12 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bhopal. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
The previous test drive was conducted in June by the regulator across 12 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bhopal. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: To take stock of the progress made by telecom operators in terms of the quality of services offered, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) once again plans to conduct an independent test drive to check compliance by operators across at least 12 cities.

The results of the drive to check the status of call drops will be published by the end of the December quarter.

“Independent test drives are going to start soon in 12-13 cities and results should come out by end of this month,” said Trai chairman R.S. Sharma.

The list of telcos for the December test drive will include new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd which started operations in September. The company has been raising the issue of call drops accusing incumbent operators of not releasing points of interconnection and blocking 900 crore calls in the first three months of operation.

However, the company recently said call drop rates now have come down from 90% to 20%.

The independent test drive examines the performance of telecom operators on four quality of service parameters—call drop rate, call set-up success rate, blocked call rate and signal strength.

Also read: Telcos revenues may slip 7% post Reliance Jio offer, demonetisation: Icra

Amid a huge outcry over call drops, Trai had intervened to take strong measures aimed to restore quality of services. The regulator had also pushed for powers to penalize telecom operators by making them pay Re1 for each call drop, subject to a maximum of three calls in a day, which was later quashed by the Supreme Court in May.

The previous test drive was conducted in June by the regulator across 12 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bhopal. As per the Trai benchmark, not more than 2% calls on a telecom operator’s network should get automatically disconnected. Most companies faced non-compliance issues across these cities as they failed to meet the benchmark due to poor network coverage.

The telecom companies contested Trai’s findings alleging that the test method adopted by the regulator was not appropriate. After results were published, telecom operators committed to a 100-day action plan to resolve the call drop issue and promised an investment of Rs12,000 crore to build better network infrastructure. The companies had further promised an additional Rs20,000 crore investment in over a year to improve the quality of service.

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