India has one of the lowest telecom tariffs in the world and with new entrants, new benchmarks are sure to be set. But apparently, lower tariffs do not guarantee good call quality and many consumers have reported issues with their call clarity, voice breaks and call drops. Recently, many consumers have reported major issues, saying that many of their calls do not connect even on multiple tries, finds a survey. This is despite, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issuing stringent rules for telecom companies who fail to meet voice quality benchmarks. This rule also prescribed a maximum penalty of up to Rs10 lakh per circle.
LocalCircles, a social media platform conducted a survey, which saw participation by over 25,000 unique consumers from across 200 districts in India. The Survey reveals about 30% of users of major mobile service providers face significant deterioration in call connect and drops, while 35% of citizens surveyed admit there is a call drop of one in every four calls.
Consumers, who participated in the Survey, also said that the call drops faced by them had risen over the past few months as telecom operators moved their network from 2G or 3G to 4G but were not investing enough into their network capacity.
Responding on a question on using alternative modes for making calls, 20% said they were forced to make data or Wi-Fi calls 20% of the time due to mobile network issues. About 27% said they do it 5-20% of the times while 26% do it less than 5% of the times. Rest 27% said their mobile calls always go through.
A call drop represents the telecom service provider's inability to keep an incoming or outgoing call going. The instances of us rushing from one room to another to get better mobile signals when we receive a call on our mobile phone are quite common.
Talking about mobile call drop or a connection issue, 21% said over 50% of their calls have issues, 35% said 20-50% of their calls have issues, 33% said up to 20% of their calls have connection issues whereas only 11% said they do not face any issues.
Recently, TRAI issued notices to various telecom operators of the country on them being compliant to the latest call drop norms set by the telecom regulator. LocalCircles asked citizens about what they have experienced in the last three months with various mobile service providers in regard to call connect and call drop. Almost 8,000 votes came in on each of these polls. The results are stated below.
About 30% respondents who were Vodafone users said that the situation with call connects and call drops has significantly deteriorated while 27% said that it is same as before. 17% said they don't use Vodafone themselves but those they call seem to be facing deteriorated services. 26% were unsure about the issue.
When it came to Airtel customers, 38% of those surveyed experienced a major increase in issues with call connects and call drops. 32% said the issues were same as before. 17% said they do not use Airtel themselves but people whom they call seem to be facing these issues. 13% chose not to answer.
Numbers with Jio were no not much different. About 27% said call connects had become difficult and call drops have increased, while 23% said the problem was same as earlier. Around 23% said they do not use Jio themselves but people whom they call seem to be having issues while 27% did not have an opinion on the issue.
About 15% of Idea users (who participated in the survey) said call connects had become difficult and call drops have increased, while 9% said the problem was same as earlier. About 30% said they do not use Idea themselves but people whom they call seem to be having issues while 46% were unsure about it.
During 2015, TRAI had mandated that telecom companies must compensate their users for call drops. The Supreme Court however, removed the rule after various carriers appealed.
In response to the following poll, 20% citizens said that while talking on the phone when they have a bad connection the call takes more than a minute to drop. About 31% said call drops after 30-60 seconds, 21% said it drops within 30 seconds whereas 28% said it does not drop automatically at all.
Citizens said that telecom companies should ensure optimum quality levels in voice calls and should be held responsible for the plunging service levels. They said that the regulator should also ensure that the issue of call drops and voice breaks are minimised and the telecom operators do not cut corners to reduce prices in order to gain more market share, LocalCircles says.