Call drop is the main reason for a rise in portability requests
GN Bureau | April 26, 2016
Up to 51 lakh requests for mobile number portability (MNP) were received by the telecom operators in February 2016, bringing the total number of requests up to 20.47 crore, according to a report by telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI).
In January, total requests for MNP were 19.96 crore.
The rise in porting requests can be viewed in the background of call drop issue, which made headlines in the telecom industry for long.
A study conducted by RedMango Analytics in 20 cities in February, revealed that 4% of all dropped calls occurred due to poor network coverage, while 59.1% of dropped calls occurred due to poor quality network, 36.9% of all the dropped calls occurred due to network faults.
While TRAI has set upper limit for call drops at 2 percent, the country is experiencing call drop rate more than 4 percent.
A source from telecom industry said that call drops mostly happened due to transition of mobile network from old to new technology, which department of telecommunications couldn’t handle.
The industry argues that there are multiple reasons causing call drops that are beyond their control, for example sealing of mobile towers by municipal authorities. Also, it is hard to identify whether a call is drooped due to network failure, and so compensating for every call drop is not acceptable, the industry argues.
However, TRAI blamed telecom operators for causing poor network quality by not investing enough in infrastructure. The regulatory also issued notice to the operators to compensate their users for each call drop. The notice was supposed to be effective from January but telecos refused to abide by the order and took the matter to the court. The matter is being heard in the supreme court.
According to TRAI report, Rajasthan received highest number of porting requests with about 180.2 lakh requests in northern and western India, followed by Gujarat with total requests touching about 158.3 lakh.
In southern and eastern parts of the country, Karnataka topped the chart with 230.1 lakh porting requests, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 196.5 lakh requests.
There are total 10 telecom providers in India. Airtel and Vodafone comprise largest share of subscribers across the country. However, in February, Vodafone saw 1.04 percent growth in its subscriber base, compared to 1.67 percent growth in BSNL network and 1.18 percent in Airtel.
Overall, the number of wireless telecom subscriber has reached 102.66 crore-mark, out of which 92.52 crore are active, TRAI reported.
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