TRAI to evaluate consultation papers for stringent call drop norms

New Delhi, July 24 : The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is likely to start evaluating options to make call drop benchmark rate more stringent. The regulator proposed consultation paper for stricter call drop benchmark of less than the current rate of two percent. The TRAI is likely to seek comments from the stakeholders by way of a consultation paper to explore setting the benchmark range from as low as 0.5 to 1.5 percent. More importantly, it is thinking of having the call drop rate measured per Base Transceiver Station (BTS) instead of licensed service area. Proposed consultation papers are likely to be issued very soon. If implemented, this move will further bring telcos under the regulatory glare and will force operators to tackle network quality issues more seriously. The TRAI's drive test results in Mumbai suggests most operators are not meeting the call drop rate benchmark except Airtel 2G and 3G and Vodafone 2G. On the other hand, Idea Cellular's call drop rate in January was as high as seven percent, which has come down to five percent in May. The call drop rate for Vodafone 3G improved to 2.29 percent in May versus over five percent in January, still higher than the benchmark two percent. If these call drop figures are to go by, the regulator's proposed move to reduce the benchmark to sub-two percent will be far from achievable for the telcos.