New Delhi: New telecom minister Manoj Sinha on Friday said resolving call drop issue will be the “top priority” and hoped for “qualitative improvement” in 4-5 months with a mega-spectrum auction likely to be held in September. “Our top priority is resolving call drop. We expect there will be qualitative improvement in 4-5 months. We are also going to auction spectrum soon... Hopefully by the end of September, which will help in addressing call drop problem,” Mr Sinha said.
He said the framework for spectrum auction is ready and it will be conducted by end of September. “The total reserve price of spectrum auction is estimated to be around Rs 5.66 lakh crore. We will hold it in a transparent manner. The government received bids of over Rs 1.1 lakh crore. We will get to know the amount government will get from this auction only after its over,” said Mr Sinha.
Call drops have been a major issue for over a year now after Prime minister Narendra Modi personally expressed “serious concern” over the quality of mobile services. While telecom companies have been claiming that they have improved the quality of their services, latest test drive by Trai in Delhi and Hyderabad released in June revealed that most of them have failed to meet the benchmark on call drops. Recently Supreme Court strike down Trai order that operators pay Re 1 per call dropped to the consumer with a maximum penalty of Rs 3 per day.
As a result of Supreme Court order, Trai has now sought powers to impose penalty of upto Rs 10 crore on mobile operators and jail term of upto two years for their executives for any violation of regulatory framework. Asked about Congress’ allegations of a telecom scam, he said, “Whate-ver happened in the past has nothing to do with this government.” “Since the time this government has come in power, there has been no such complaints. The process of recovering money from telecom operators will be completed in definite time,” he added....