The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Arjun Ganguly, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
When people are living in a world where time is money, literally, call drop not only poses as irritating phenomenon but also ends up eating away customers time. When a phone connection gets broken mid-call, it is referred to as call drop. For cellphone users in India, it has become common to be cut off mid-sentence when speaking.
The issue is more relevant now than ever specially in light of the fact that Call drops have doubled in the last one year, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). This is by the way four times higher than the permissible limit. The issue of frequent call drops has become severe in the recent months and concern has been raise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well in this regard.
The government seems to have come up with a probable solution to this issue. On Wednesday(09/09) it went on to approve telecom spectrum trading norms, allowing mobile operators to buy or lend airwaves from one another. Immediately after the new broke out on the Cabinet approval, Telecom stocks soared – Reliance Communication soared over 15 per cent, while Bharti Airtel and Idea shot up over 5 per cent. The move is expected to bring the call drop rate down in India. India is the world’s second-
biggest market by number of mobile customers. The government’s nod will help telecom operators meet surging demand not only in the country’s phone connections but also the data usage. Why data usage? The number of smartphone users in India had stood at around 140 million in 2014. According to a study by Cisco it is expected to reach 651 million by 2019.
There is speculation, on the other hand, that the government may impose penalties on mobile operators for frequent call drops. Seeking urgent steps by mobile operators to put a check to frequent call drops, regulator TRAI said their performance would be reviewed. After a stipulated time of 15 days if the issue shows no improvement , TRAI had warned it will “cross the bridge”. Separately, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also said that the government is presently not thinking of imposing any penalty, but that option can not be ruled out if the situation does not change.
Whichever may be the case, i.e. whether penalties are imposed as warned or the news of approval of telecom spectrum trading norms by the government, the future certainly looks good for the country’s millions of telecom customers. It is good that the government is looking into these hassles faced by customers and are thinking of implementing various innovative methods to put an end to it.