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Telecom operators body COAI said on Friday it does not see ‘ease of doing business’ in the sector as rules framed by the Centre are not getting implemented at the local level for network roll-out.
“Law of the land should work as indicated, but ease of business is not there when we get down to local levels,” COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told reporters while discussing issues around call drops.
He said the municipal bodies and panchayats are not following the rules framed by the Centre and obstruct rolling out of telecom network.
During the BRICS summit 2016 held in Goa, the telecom minister, secretary and other top officials from Centre went to the state to get mobile towers installed to handle traffic load but still telecom companies failed to get adequate permission from local bodies, Mathews said.
“In Bangalore, we are asked to pay price equivalent to the market for digging an area for laying optical fibre cable. The amount of money demanded is so huge that it leaves no business case for us,” Mathews said.
He said some states have aligned their policy for rolling out telecom networks with that of the Centre, but there is problem in other states.
“Telecom operators have been investing huge amount to prevent call drops. In last 12 months, telecom companies have invested Rs 346 billion to instal 3,46,778 base stations. Just two operators, Airtel and Jio have committed to invest Rs 740 billion in one year to address the problem. We are making best effort to check call drops,” Mathews said.
He said telecom networks are not the only factor responsible for call drops and the regulations do not consider other factors. According to the COAI, call drops may occur because of interference of signals, congestion on cell sites, weather conditions, faulty handsets and call transfer from one tower to the another. It said that most of the factors on customer side have not been considered under Trai regulations.
Mathews said that problem of call drop is more in data based networks like voice over LTE (VoLTE) than the technology used for 2G and 3G. He said the average spectrum holding, required for transmitting mobile signals, is very low in India and operators can buy additional spectrum only if it is reasonably priced.