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“Expect mediocre telecom service for at least 6 months’

Consolidation of network in telecom industry and power outages, have impacted the quality of calls. Call-drop has reared its ugly head once again. But the industry sees no immediate solution, and expects the mediocre quality of voice calls to continue at least for another six months.

Explaining the quality, Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) told BusinessLine,“There are various reasons such as locational restrictions, multiplicity of policies, shutting down or sealing and demolition of operational sites and alleged fear of Electro Magnetic Frequency (EMF) emissions. Further, exorbitant charges and retrospective implementation of tower installation policies within a State are all leading to call drops, network outages and connectivity gaps.”

“Right of Way rules, November 2016, is critical for the provisioning of ground telecom infrastructure, however, the implementation of the rules at the State-level still remains complicated situation. This is despite the Department of Telecommunications writing to the State authorities to align their policies with the said rules,” he added.

At present, about 10 States have aligned their policies with the RoW rules. Due to the consolidation, while it has an interim impact on tenancies, mobile towers are not lying idle as they are shared. Even if one exits, it will still have many other tenants.

The industry has deployed 4.82 lakh towers housing 19-lakh BTSs, which signifies the importance of the sharing model. As per an earlier industry report, the tower sector is expected to grow at 3-5 per cent per annum. However, with the advent of the technologies such as 5G, IoT, M2M, AI and VR the growth is slated to be much higher.

Amresh Nandan, Research Vice-President at Gartner said, “ reasons include the consolidation in the industry and the subsequent rationalisation of networks, and operators moving over to VoLTE, while the network is not ready to support it. The signal strength and coverage on 4G networks is patchy across various parts of the country, and the handover from one technology to another (calls switching from 3G and 4G) is not as seamless as it should be.” .

“In my opinion it would take a good six months before these issues could be sorted out,” he added.

Source: The Hindu