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More telecom infra needed; govt will ensure quality service: Aruna Sundararajan


Stressing the importance of providing quality mobile network services to the rapidly expanding subscriber base, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan has said the country needs much more infrastructure by way of more towers and fiberisation. “In a country where data is growing at 500 per cent, we need much more infrastructure. You need at least double the number of towers, at least double the size of fibre. Otherwise, where will the quality come from? So, they (operators) are working on that,” Sundararajan said. She was talking on the sidelines of the second 5G India conference organised by the Department of Telecom.

“We are driving down hard on the service quality areas. We are beginning to see visible changes as a result of it. But it is not enough,” she added. Earlier, Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha also said that the government will ensure quality service for the telecom subscribers. “The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has issued standards recently. Government will ensure that quality service is given to the consumers,” he said. His remarks came amid concerns on falling service quality of mobile operators resulting in inconveniences like call drops. However, a query on penalising erring operators did not elicit a direct reply.

“We will ensure there is good service quality,” the minister said, when asked about penalty. There have been multiple reports on call drops faced by the country’s nearly one billion mobile users and falling quality standards and the sector watchdog has also been seeking to improve the quality. When asked about reports of the government mulling another round of spectrum auctions, he said the ministry is waiting for recommendations from Trai. When asked if the government is in favour of IUC for messages, Sinha said it is the mandate of Trai and the watchdog is considering it.

Speaking at the conference, Special Secretary N Sivasailam said the country is on the right track for rolling out the next generation 5G services, adding that an ecosystem will have to be built for the roll-out. Reliance Jio managing director Sanjay Mashruwala, however, pointed out that the country is far from rolling out the 5G services due to the lack of supporting pieces in the ecosystem. Sivasailam said the government is planning to announce the new telecom policy next month after receiving suggestions on the recently issued draft.

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