NEW DELHI: As call drop problem persists, the new Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said resolving the issue is 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,” Sinha told reporters.
Call drop menace doubled by the end of fiscal 2015 with industry average worsening to 12.5 per cent at the end of January-March compared with 6.01 per cent in March 2014 on 2G networks, as per data of telecom regulator Trai.
Sinha said the framework for spectrum auction is ready and it will be conducted by end of September, reported by PTI.
“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 gto know the amount government will get from this auction only after its over,” Sinha added.
The auction is biggest both in terms of amount of spectrum and monetary value of the radiowaves being put for auction. About 2,300 megahertz of frequencies will be put up for sale.
Spectrum will be sold in bands – 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1,800 Mhz, 2,100 Mhz, 2,300 Mhz and 2,500 MHz.
The government had earlier planned to start spectrum auction in mid-July, but the Cabinet decided to seek view of Trai on annual fees levied on telecom operators called spectrum usage charges (SUC) before finalising the rules.
Former Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also pushed for resolving call drop issue with installations of mobile towers, but Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in sample test found most of the operators failing the service quality benchmark.
The regulator had found operators using radio-link time out (RLT), which prevents call from disconnecting even in poor network area and consumers are billed for the same even if they are unable to hear voice of person on the other side.
Besides, operators have blamed authorities and people obstructing installation of mobile towers and spectrum scarcity for call drops.