news Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 17:36

As the 'call drop' menace refuses to subside, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said he will personally go around the National Capital along with the top officials to monitor the quality of mobile calls.

The Minister also exhorted state-run telecom operator BSNL to work harder to expand its customer base and asked its top officials to "come out of their office and work on the ground level", saying he himself was ready to "sit and sell SIMs for BSNL".

"I, (J S) Deepak and Anupam (Shrivastava) will go around in Delhi to monitor call drops," Prasad said at a BSNL event where he launched modern telephone service of the telecom PSU.

Prasad had earlier conducted drive tests in Indore with Shrivastava, the Chairman and Managing Director of BSNL.

As part of its steps to rein in call drop menace, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) too conducted drive tests in December-January and found that network quality of most of telecom operators, including state-run MTNL, was below standards.

None of the telecom operators showed improvement in call drops in Mumbai, Pune and Bhubaneswar, the Trai report said.

In Indore, Trai found 2G network of Airtel, Vodafone, RCom CDMA and Tata CDMA complying with call drop norms while other telcos failed.

Also, Trai has directed telcos to provide Re 1 compensation for each call dropped, with a compensation cap of Rs 3 per day.

Prasad said that he wants BSNL to increase its customer base to 1 crore in 2016-17 year and is even ready to "sell SIMs" for the PSU.

"In around April, BSNL was selling 7-8 lakh SIM (cards) and in January-March, BSNL started selling 20 lakh SIMs. I am told BSNL has 70 lakh customers. I would like to see this customer base to grow 1 crore net in 2016-17.

"I am even ready to sit and sell sims for BSNL," Prasad said.

He said that BSNL needs to communicate to masses about its services. "If BSNL can market its product with right strategy, I am sure we will see same kind of revolution in landline segment as we have seen in mobile telephony.

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