CALL DROP PROBLEM
CALL DROP PROBLEM
Reviewing the status of mobile connectivity in the country at a high level meeting, PM Narendra Modi observed that the call drop problem directly affects the common man.
According to the data released by regulator TRAI, At the end of May, total number of telephone connections stood at just over 1 billion, of which 975.78 million connections were wireless or mobile.
The number of connections per 100 stood at 79.67 at the end of May but only problem with data is that many subscribers have multiple connections.
The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 999.71 million at the end of April 2015 to 1,002.05 million at the end of May 2015, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.23 percent.
36% of call drops occurred in areas with good network and one-third of call failures occurred in off peak hours.
Findings by TRAI about call drops
Most of the telecom companies in Delhi and Mumbai are not meeting the prescribed standards.
only Bharti Airtel in Mumbai and Tata Teleservices in Delhi met the laid-down quality of service (QoS) benchmarks for call drop rate, which as per norms should be less than 2 percent.
In Mumbai, Idea has a call drop rate of 5.56 percent, Tata has 5.51 percent, Vodafone has 4.83 percent, Aircel has 3.19 percent, Reliance has 2.29 percent. Only Airtel meets the benchmark with a call drop rate of 0.97 percent.
The situation is not very different in Delhi with Reliance having a call drop rate of 17.29 percent, Airtel 8.04 percent, Aircel 5.18 percent, Vodafone 4.28 percent and Idea 2.84 percent. Tata is meeting the benchmark with call drop rate of 0.84 percent.
What is call drop?
In telecommunications, the dropped-call rate (DCR) is the fraction of the telephone calls which, due to technical reasons, were cut off before the speaking parties had finished their conversation and before one of them had hung up (dropped calls) This fraction is usually measured as a percentage of all calls.
The dropped-call rate is one of the key performance indicators (KPI) used by the network operators to assess the performance of their networks. It is assumed to have direct influence on the customer satisfaction with the service provided by the network and its operator.
Reasons of call drop
- India’s telecom operators have the lowest access to spectrum in the world. In addition to that, spectrum in India is extremely fragmented, which constrains use of data. For example if a company want to move from 2G to 3G or 4G mobile broadband, it need to have a 5Mhz chunk of spectrum. It won’t work if it have five chunks of 1Mhz each.
- Mobile phones work using radio waves in the frequency range of 300 MHz and 3,000 MHz. But the entire range is not available for use. Critically, the lower the number, the better the quality of transmisison. It makes sense for a telecom company to pitch for a 900 MHz band instead of 2,100 MHz or even 1,800 MHz. Since limited space is available in each band, companies jostle for more space in the better (or lower) bands.
- The lower radio bands need fewer towers to travel longer distances, so when telecom companies offer richer services like 3G or 4G, they have to be at higher frequencies (2,100 MHz or 2,300 MHz instead of 900 MHz), which need more tower support.
- There are approximately 5,50,000 towers in India, and industry associations reckon another 1,00,000 are needed.
- The setting up of boosters on buildings remains a contested area, and permission has to be obtained on a case-by-case basis. Things could improve if telecom connectivity were seen as being similar to water and power supply, and developers were to apply for a uniform set of permissions.
- If a company has too little of the better bands, the quality of voice service drops. It also drops if the number of customers rises.
- Several telecom tower sites have even been lost to the fear of radiation. In 2012, the government reduced the electronic frequency limits of radiation to one-tenth of the existing limits.
- Operators are making a lot of revenue from data now. So a lot of spectrum is being allotted to 3G rather than 2G, to data rather than voice. That’s primarily the reason this sudden increase in call drops has happened.
- Operators also say that every day, the density of cellphone users in big cities is growing – and that’s leading to congestion.
What the Government can do?