Telcos must be cheering the recent data-tariff hike that they’ve bestowed on the customers recently, but that happiness has been thwarted to an extent by Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Doing some straightforward, to-the-point talk, he said on Tuesday that Telecom companies have enough spectrum so they should address the call drop issues immediately.
Telcos blaming lack of spectrum for low Quality-of-Service isn’t any new thing. This has always remained a classic excuse for them, whether it was justifying their position on Net Neutrality issue or in regard to call drops. But now after this straightforward message from Telecom Minister these companies may come under a bit more pressure to fix this problem soon.
He said that this time the highest amount of spectrum till date was put for auction in month of March. Only some part of it remained unsold. Therefore, this argument regarding lack of spectrum has no substance. Telcos should walk the extra mile to reinforce their infrastructure and provide high quality telephony services without any interruption.
He said that he has asked TRAI to suggest a disincentive mechanism for Telcos that don’t take any considerable steps to resolve this issue, though he didn’t disclose the type of disincentive that his department is mulling over so it’s unclear whether it’ll be any financial disincentive or any other type of disincentive.
To add further weight to his words, he didn’t forget to remind Telcos that Department of Telecom is working on a revision of M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) guidelines for telecom sector. DoT officials are meeting with stakeholders to take their advice on upcoming guidelines and a final call will be taken after recommendations are finalized. He said that his department his willing to walk the extra mile for Telcos, so they should also walk the extra mile to fix these (call drop) issues.
However, at the same time he also made his stance clear on the issue of campaigning against tower installation. He made it clear that call drop allegations and campaigning against installation of mobile towers can’t co-exist. There’s no tangible evidence of any harmful effect from installation of mobile towers and installing more of them is essential to increase the quality of telephony services in country. Therefore, these two things can’t go hand in hand and public should understand this thing.
Now it’ll be interesting to see how many extra miles these telecom operators actually walk after this plain and simple message from Telecom Minister.