Telcos seek tower policy to check call drop

Companies also call for uniform national policy
Last Updated 17 August 2015, 19:46 IST

Under fire for frequent call drops, top telecom operators on Monday said the problem will further deteriorate unless operational difficulties like installation of towers are tackled while seeking a national policy in this regard.

At a joint press conference, all telecom operators and industry associations demanded that there should be a uniform tower policy that can be implemented across the country.
Terming restrictions imposed on installation of towers by municipal authorities as the major reason for increasing call drops, operators demanded that the government should telecom towers in government lands, buildings and defence buildings.

“We need a uniform national tower policy which can be implemented nationally and not just guidelines,” Idea Cellular MD Himanshu Kapania told reporters here, adding that such a policy will help to install more towers.

Vodafone India MD & CEO Sunil Sood said Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has already come out in favour of the industry for installing more towers and also allayed fears with regard to radiation threat.

On likelihood of the call drop issue further deteriorating going forward, Sood said, “If you don’t get a tower policy, yes, it will.”

When asked about giving compensation to customers against dropped calls, Sood said pricing decisions are taken by individual operators.

Bharti Airtel (India & South Asia) MD & CEO Gopal Vittal said the operators have made massive investments in the sector to provide services and the industry is not going to shy away for making further investments.

The industry cited several challenges being faced during installation of towers due to different reasons including state bodies’ actions without prior notices, restrictions by municipalities, sealing orders, power supply issues and difficulties in getting clearances for installing sites.

Telcos said over 10,000 cell sites have been made non-operational due to some of these reasons across major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Patna, Jaipur, etc.

They also want various state governments and municipal corporations to provide permissions for site installation on government buildings and support an affordable Right of Way for fibre.

(Published 17 August 2015, 19:46 IST)

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