Mutually discuss Interconnection issue and sort it out: Manoj Sinha to telcos
Interconnection enables mobile users to make calls to customers of other networks and is, therefore, crucial for smooth functioning of mobile services.
“Trai has given recommendations. In our purview, the ones who we have given licenses should also provide services to people, that we will ensure,” Sinha told reporters on Tuesday.
“Within regulatory framework, ways have always been created by mutual consultations, and I think that some way will emerge,” Sinha said, giving an indication that the government may be trying to find a middle ground towards resolving the issue arising out the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) recommendation to the telecom department to levy fines on the top three incumbents.
The telecom regulator proposed Rs 3,050-crore penalty on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular for not providing adequate PoIs to Reliance Jio, terming their action as against consumer interest which flouted license conditions and done with an ulterior motive to stall the new entrant.
PoIs are required for completing calls from one network to another. Their absence from either side leads to call failures. Sinha was speaking after meeting top Indian carriers including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular on Tuesday to take stock of the 100-day plan to counter call drops shared in June, where the telcos had promised to invest.`12,000 crore for setting up 60,000 base stations.
The minister said fewer calls dropped now than before, but warned operators that the ministry will not hesitate to slap penalty and take other actions in case consumers continue to face the menace.
Aplatform for consumers to share their complaints regarding call drops will also be set up in a month. “Operators have got 965 MHz spectrum. They have taken what was required and they have been directed to roll out (services) at the earliest now,” Sinha said adding that the government hopes to assign spectrum to successful bidders by November 19.
Carriers said they have set up 1.29 lakh base stations to improve call drops in the last four months, far higher than that committed, and submitted another 100-day plan to alleviate the situation.