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Telecom companies to set up 60,000 towers to resolve call drop problems

News Agencies | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Responding to the issue of call drop problems, Telecom Secretary JS Deepak on 10 June affirmed that companies will set up at least 60,000 towers and have committed Rs 12,000 crore to install these towers to improve service quality.

After its earlier directive asking telecom firms to pay consumers for each dropped call was quashed by the Supreme Court, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) asked the government to amend laws to give it powers for imposing a fine up to Rs 10 crore on operators and a jail term of up to two years for their executives.

Deepak said the government will "take a view" on TRAI's demand for more powers, but in his "personal opinion" a person cannot be sent to jail "for every call drop".

He also asserted that the investment will be made in the next three months. While 100 mobile towers will be installed in Delhi under a 100-day action plan, especially in problematic areas, where the call drop rate is high.

Representatives of all telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel chief for India and South Asia Gopal Vittal, Vodafone India head Sunil Sood, Idea Cellular CEO Himanshu Kapania and Reliance Jio Infocomm MD Sanjay Mashruwala, were present in the meeting.

Each operator presented a 100-day plan for improving service quality and raised issues hampering improvement in the networks.

The Telecom Secretary said that a review meetings with the industry will be conducted every quarter and added that they are likely to come up with guidelines for E-Know Your Customer norms linked with Aadhaar.

"The e-KYC norm is in an advanced stage of approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs. We believe it will be in place very soon," Deepak said.

According to the proposal, customers with Aadhaar number biometrics like finger prints will be scanned for verification and the SIM card will be activated immediately after authentication.

The process is also expected to reduce fake connections in the country and reduce penalty burden on telecom operators apart from activating mobile connection in few minutes.

First published: 11 June 2016, 11:32 IST