Telecom Towers
Govt could reduce spectrum usage charge ahead of the mega sale. Picture: Sun rises over the telecommunication towers in New Delhi December 22, 2007.Reuters

In view of increasing call drops in the country, the government has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to look into the voice tariffs of telcos to verify whether there are any unjustified gains to the telecom companies from call drops.

The government also told the telecom operators "not to divert spectrum capacity towards profit-intensive data services at the cost of voice calls," The Times of India reported.

Chief executives of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea and Reliance Communications on Monday said that the "spectrum and tower shortages" are the major reasons for the increasing call drops. They are also demanding a uniform tower policy.

"We need a uniform national tower policy which can be implemented nationally and not just guidelines," Idea Cellular MD Himanshu Kapania told IBN Live.

When asked whether there will be an increase in call drops in future, Vodafone India MD & CEO Sunil Sood said, "If you don't get a tower policy, yes, it will."

Hitting back at the reasons cited by the telcos, the government said on Tuesday that "these cannot be the basis for providing poor services."

"Trai will examine all tariff plans and packages to see if telecom companies get incentives out of call drops. If that is the case, then we will see whether it is possible that such packages are not there," said Rakesh Garg, secretary at the telecom ministry.

The government has taken a serious note of the issue as call drops have been on the rise despite the telecom companies being warned many times.

The government may also make compensation for call drops as "mandatory" for the telecom operators, Garg said.

"Some (telecom) companies have a system to give a call free for every dropped call. This measure proves to be a disincentive for operators when they provide deficient services. We have requested Trai to see whether we can make this practice mandatory for all telecom service providers," he said.

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