Don’t Want to Be Known as ‘Call Drop Minister’, Prasad Tells Telcos

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Asserting that he does not want to be known as ‘call drop minister’, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Tuesday said operators must reinforce their networks to improve quality of services.

He also said the implementation was being monitored of the investment commitments made by telecom operators for upgrading networks, as he reminded Bharti Airtel about Rs. 80,000 croresinvestment announced by the company in July.

Taking a jibe at telecom operators, the minister said it took a lot of nudging on his part to let them publicly accept that quality of services was not up to the mark and needs improvement.

“I regret to say very frankly it took a lot of nudging on my part to all of you to publicly acknowledge that there is need for improvement… I am sorry, I don’t want to be known as call drop minister, sorry, I am very clear,” Prasad said during an Ericsson event on broadband.

The issue of call drop has been prevailing over the last few months. The services though are now showing some signs of improvement.

The minister said on the policy front, he has took most of the decisions that were pending for the last many years like spectrum trading and sharing guidelines, identification of Defence band etc.

“I have done my duty, the operators must do theirs and I am saying very firmly with full sense of responsibility… while I acknowledge your role … deserve my compliments and good wishes for the work you have done but you need to realign to consumers satisfaction as well,” he added.

He further said government is accountable to peoples’ convenience and the operators must rise to the occasion to reinforce their networks and invest where the infrastructure is lacking.

Referring to Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal, Prasad said, “I am complimenting you for Rs. 60,000 crores, they must be used very quiclky… and I would hold you for your larger commitment that you said on July in the presence of Prime Minister (at Digital India event) that you will invest Rs. 80,000 crores. I hope you remember that.” Mittal mentioned about Airtel’s commitment to invest Rs. 60,000 crores on capital expenditure over the next three years while accepting that quality of services need further improvement.