New Delhi: Grappling with mobile call drop menace, telecom operators on Monday committed to install 1 lakh towers within a year, entailing investments of about Rs 20,000 crore, and sought more spectrum from the government.
"Telecom operators have installed 48,000 towers in last 45 days, out of 60,000 towers they promised to install in 100 days," Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters after a meeting with them.
"They have committed to one-year plan. Their performance has been satisfactory but government wants that improvement in networks should be experienced by consumers," he added.
This was second meeting between the government and the operators on the call drop issue. At the first meeting with Telecom Secretary JS Deepak in June, a 100-day plan was chalked out.
A telecom ministry official said the operators have committed to install a total of 1 lakh mobile towers within a year. The cost of each mobile tower is estimated to be around Rs 20 lakh.
"The customer experience should not only be in area of call drop but also in space of data services. We are not anywhere close to experience required for success of Digital India initiative of the Prime Minister," Sinha said.
The government is gearing up for the largest spectrum auction, estimated to be worth Rs 5.66 lakh crore, wherein as much as 2300 megahertz of radiowaves will be put up for sale across frequency bands.
Telecom operators have also sought the opening up of new frequency bands -- 71-76 gigahertz (GHz) and 50 GHz. Wireless services deployed in these bands are considered to deliver broadband speed of up to 1 gigabit per second as in case of optical fibres.
Sinha told the operators that spectrum auction will be conducted in September and it will resolve spectrum shortage problem in the industry.