Opinion DC Comment 12 Jan 2016 Small cells for call ...

Small cells for call drops

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Jan 12, 2016, 6:56 am IST
Updated Jan 12, 2016, 6:56 am IST
The service providers had challenged the penalty of Rs 3 per day for call drops
Union communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
 Union communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Union communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has for the nth time threatened the telecom service providers over call drops, but the latter won’t budge till the court gives its opinion. The service providers had challenged the penalty of Rs 3 per day for call drops imposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Service providers blame shortage of spectrum and say they do not get permission to install adequate towers because of a cancer scare. They have a point because many towers had to be removed due to protests by residents even though the relationship with cancer has not been proved. The minister, however, points out that in Delhi service providers have installed 25,000 towers in the last three to four months, after his threats, and asked why they didn’t do so earlier. He feels they could solve this problem but are not exploring their options. The minister acknowledges the role of telecom operators in expanding mobile connections to 100 crore and 40 crore Internet connections but insists on reducing network congestion before the PM’s Digital India programme is rolled out.

 

The stands of both the minister and the service providers have some merit. The service providers’ problems are heightened because of a lack of cooperation by citizens — for instance, landlords do not permit boosters in buildings. A global firm’s communications services provider division has talked of the new self-organising network technology that enhances spectral efficiency through small cells and boosters. If this helps, the service providers could try this option.

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