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Call drops issue: Telecom Minister to meet telco CEOs

Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha is scheduled to hold his first meeting with CEOs of mobile service providers on Monday to discuss industry issues in general and call drops in particular.

“The minister has called a meeting with chief executive officers of telecom operators to discuss industry issue, including call drops,” an industry source told PTI. This will be first meeting of Sinha with the telecom leaders.

On the one hand, the Telecom Ministry is gearing up for mega spectrum auction which will see airwaves worth Rs 5.66 lakh crore up for grabs. On the other, Sinha has to address the issue of call drops as the Supreme Court recently struck down telecom regulator TRAI’s order of making operators compensate users for every call drop subject to a limit.

In fact, to check call drops, Trai has demanded more teeth, including imposing a fine of up to Rs 10 crore on operators and jail term of up to two years for their executives, prompting the telecom companies to term such powers as “draconian”.

Sinha’s other priority will be framing of regulations on the much-debated Net neutrality issue where battle lines are already drawn between telecom operators and Internet-based content providers.

As such, TRAI has started a pre-consultation process and already got written comments from industry stakeholders and members of civil society.

Maximum consumer complaints for poor service and call drops have been received against Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Communications in the last three years.  As per data shared by Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha “regarding poor services and call drops received by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)”, nearly one-third complaints received in the first half of 2016 are against Airtel.

TRAI has received 9,720 complaints for poor services, as per data available till June 30, 2016. In this, 3,257 complaints have been made against Airtel, 2,130 against Vodafone, 1,526 against RCom and 997 against Idea Cellular.

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