Urgent need to increase mobile towers over call drops: TRAI

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) The Indian telecom watchdog feels that mobile towers do not have an unlimited capacity for handling the current network load and there is an urgent need to increase the number of towers.

It feels that it is needed to cater to the demands of a growing subscriber base, which in turn will reduce call rates.

“There is an urgent need to increase the number of the towers so as to cater to the demands of a growing subscriber base. At the same time, problems like removal of towers from certain areas by authorities should be adequately addressed,” said the Technical Paper on Call drop in Cellular Networks released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) here on Tuesday.

“Moreover, with the increase in the usage of 3G networks, the growth rate of mobile towers supporting 2G networks has reduced. This must be addressed,” it further said.

Last month, the TRAI issued a notification, which said mobile phone operators have to compensate subscribers on call drops from January 1 next year at the rate of a rupee for each such failure.

Some important countermeasures at telecom service providers’ (TSP) end have also been discussed in the paper.

Measures like dynamic channel allocation, multiple call routing and optimised resource management can be employed by the TSP’s besides, usage of mobile signal boosters through the TSPs at users’ buildings or premises, it said.

“Some prioritization schemes like measurement-based prioritization scheme, Call Admission Control Protocol, Guard Channels, Handoff Queuing and Auxiliary Stations essentially need to be incorporated by TSPs to reduce call drops,” the telecom regulator said.

The report said while the subscriber base in the country is growing very fast, the mobile telecom infrastructure is not growing at the same pace and immense pressure is being put on to the existing facilities, leading to a dip in the quality of services (QoS) provided.

Call drop, affecting the quality of experience of the subscribers, can take place due to a variety of technical issues, including inadequate coverage; problems with the quality of signal; interference; network congestion; and network failure.

The TRAI monitored a few network-related quality of service (QoS) parameters in a cellular mobile telephone service network before it arrived at the conclusion. The parameters are – network availability, connection establishment, connection maintenance and points of interconnection.

An analysis of the traffic channel (TCH) call drop rate was carried out for various TSPs in Delhi circle reveals the operators are generally meeting the TRAI benchmark of TCH call drop less than 2 percent. But a drill down of the values at cell level shows that there are several cells that have much higher TCH call drop rate, the sector regulator said.

“The TCH call drop does not reveal the extent of number of areas or localities with worst call drop rate. Therefore benchmarks are prescribed for another parameter, ‘worst affected cells’,” the regulator said.

Regarding voice quality the report said: “Though the operators are generally meeting the benchmark of 95 percent, a drill down of the values at cell level shows that there are around 15 percent cells not meeting the benchmark.”

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