Telcos: Government pings telcos as calls and outages increase on 5G switchover | Daily News Byte

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Consumer complaints about call drops and call failures are on the rise, with areas in particular focusing on the transition from 4G to 5G, prompting the government to encourage mobile operators to improve service quality.

“Telecom operators need to improve the quality of services as the current situation is not ideal,” said a senior official of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). “We have also written to Traia (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) regarding this issue and will see how the issue can be resolved.

Quality of Service (QoS) is the mandate of the sector regulator, the official pointed out, adding that even legacy 4G networks are a concern.

Industry executives, however, said this is a temporary phenomenon and services will improve once all devices with 5G software updates sync with next-generation networks, which are also being rolled out in more places.

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Market leader Reliance Jio and second-ranked Bharti Airtel have started rolling out 5G networks in urban areas and are expected to cover most of the country in 18-24 months. Vodafone Idea currently only offers 4G services and has not started rolling out 5G network.

Queries to Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea regarding their KoS remained unanswered at the time of publication.

The DoT official quoted above said that the government has done its part by providing the necessary support and now the operators should do their part.

Industry body Mobile Operators Association of India (COAI) said telcos continue to invest in improving the network experience for over one billion mobile users across the country. “Now, with 5G rolling out across the country, fiberization of networks is becoming a critical need. Currently, only about 35% of towers in the country are equipped with fibre, and this needs to be doubled to support efficient network operations and quality service delivery,” said SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI, in a statement to ET.

He added that the telecom networks meet the KoS norms prescribed by Trai, but there are some challenges that need to be overcome. “Several issues such as unavailability of sites in desired locations, government institutions and public places; excessively high fees of certain state authorities for the creation of infrastructure; massive use of unauthorized signal boosters, etc. presents huge challenges for the efficient introduction of infrastructure and it needs to be solved urgently,” said Kočar.

The sector regulator, for its part, is working to resolve the KoS issue, officials familiar with the matter said. Trai officials have been meeting network providers as well as operators to come up with a mechanism where end-to-end network quality can be assessed.

At present, the KoS norms are enforced up to the site level, but not on cloud servers etc., officials said.

Many times it happens that the call (normal voice call or OTT call) drops due to low bandwidth from the server to the base station. Also, there is a problem of dropped calls inside the buildings, they said.

Trai is looking at this issue holistically and will soon come out with a series of recommendations to improve the quality of service.

Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnav told ET in a recent interview, “The quality of service needs to be improved further and the operators need to tie up. We removed bottlenecks around adjacent spectrum, right-of-way issues, etc. Now operators have to fill the gaps in network coverage by installing more towers.”

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