Hello, Anyone There? Your 10-Point Guide to the 'Call-Drop' Surge

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Hello, Anyone There? Your 10-Point Guide to the 'Call-Drop' Surge

For cellphone users in India, it is becoming common to be cut off mid-sentence - and not just because the other person's bored with the conversation. "Call drops" have doubled in the last one year, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and that's four times higher than the permissible limit. Here's your 10-point cheat-sheet to the controversy:

  1. The issue of call drops - when the phone connection gets broken midst-call - has turned into a new battle between operators and the government.

  2. Telecoms say they aren't being given access to enough spectrum or airwaves, and that more cellphone towers need to be installed.

  3. Operators also say that every day, the density of cellphone users in big cities is growing - and that's leading to congestion.

  4. An association of cellphone operators said that in the last seven months, operators have installed 70,000 cell towers across India, and will have to invest in 100,000 more in the next two years to solve call drops.

  5. (Also see: 100,000 New Mobile Towers Needed To Stop Call Drops: COAI)

  6. A National Tower Policy which provides comprehensive rules is urgently needed, said the Cellphone Operators Association of India, claiming that towers should be allowed on government buildings and on defence land without rental fees.

  7. The government however rejects these claims and accuses telecoms of ducking the required investment to improve the performance of calls.

  8. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has repeatedly said that ample spectrum is available for operators, and that it is the telcos' responsibility to upgrade the networks.

  9. The minister said he has also clarified to the public that telecom towers are not health hazards, and activism to have them removed from residential neighbourhoods is unwarranted.

  10. The country's telecom regulator TRAI has found a two-fold jump in call drops on 2G networks and by 65 percent on 3G networks in a one-year period ending March 2015.

  11. A proposal recently approved by the Cabinet allows operators who have fewer subscribers to loan or rent out their unutilized airwaves to larger players.

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