The call drop rate has reduced by 8 per cent in the last one year, Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said here on Friday, adding that the government aimed to bring it down further by the year-end.
After a review meeting with telecom operators, the minister told reporters that the rate had come down by 8 per cent since the last review meeting held a year ago. Sinha also said that there was "substantial improvement" in customer satisfaction as well.
All major telecom companies were present at the meeting, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio, Idea Cellular, Telenor, BSNL and Reliance Communications.
The minister said the telecom companies had met the target of setting up 60,000 cellular sites or BTS with an investment of Rs 12,000 crore in 100 days.
The Indian telecom watchdog on Aug 18 announced stricter rules regarding call drops and said telecom operators who didn't meet the norms could be fined at least Rs 5 lakh.
"Graded financial disincentives in case service providers fail to meet the DCR (drop call rates) benchmarks have been introduced, in which amount payable may depend upon the extent of deviation from the benchmarks," the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said recently.
It said that if the benchmark is not met, the service provider may be fined up to Rs 5 lakh against one parameter "depending upon the extent of deviation of performance from the benchmark".
"In case of consecutive contravention of the benchmarks for two-quarters, financial disincentive may be up to one-and-half times -- and in case of consecutive contravention of the benchmark for more than two quarters, it may be twice the amount," said the regulator.
TRAI said the amended regulation of "Quality of Service" would be effective from October 1. Previously, penalty on call drop norm violation was Rs 50,000 per violation.