The telecom department has directed top carriers to complete installation of additional towers by March as per their commitments made last fiscal, to improve the call drop situation, and noted that Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have committed to invest a total of Rs 74,000 crore in the next financial year to expand infrastructure.
The department of telecommunications (DoT) also directed telcos to fast track tower installations in Delhi, Mumbai, and areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, that are worst affected by call drops, telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told ET reporters, after a meeting with senior executives of mobile phone operators.
“We have said that by March all the commitments they had made regarding putting up extra towers, small cells and towers on wheels, should be completed,” said telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan, on Tuesday after holding more than an hour-long meeting with representatives from Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Telenor and others.
“Bharti Airtel said that they have invested Rs 16,000 crore on infrastructure and will be spending another Rs 24,000 crore. Reliance Jio has said that they will invest Rs 50,000 in installing 1 lakh towers in coming fiscal,” she said. Others such as Idea Cellular and Vodafone have also committed to increasing mobile towers in their network.
Further, carriers have been mandated to closely monitor the quality of services from the highest levels in the companies, share towers and to ensure that areas like hospitals, highways and domestic and international airports face lower call drops.
The telcos will meet the secretary on a monthly basis on call drops, as DoT will monitor call drops even more closely along with the telecom regulator. The next meeting will include analysis based on call drop rates derived by data collected on the basis of the new rules issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in October last year. Telcos are submitting their data to the regulator, which should bring out its report by the month end.