Govt no to ombudsman for telecom sector
New Delhi: Government on Thursday ruled out setting
up an ombudsman to redress complaints of poor mobile telephony
services like call drops saying state-run BSNL/MTNL
were taking effective steps to upgrade technology.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in Rajya
Sabha, Minister of State for Telecom Sachin Pilot said while
the telecom revolution has led to India having one of the
world's cheapest call rates, it has also led to congestion in
network leading to call drops.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd
are taking effective steps like upgrading technology and
putting in more efforts to improve quality.
"The direct answer to his question is no," he said when
asked whether Government will set up an independent ombudsman
to address complaints like call drop.
Telcom Minister A Raja said the per second metering of
call, recently introduced by major mobile telephony operators,
is to ensure that consumers are not made to pay for full
one-minute when the call may not have lasted more than a few
seconds because of call drop.
He said he was "not bothered" about companies' losing
revenue in the per-second billing as long as consumers are
The Government was providing a level-playing field to
public and private telecom operators, he added.
Pilot said tele-density or number of telephones per 100
persons, has increased from 9 per cent in 2005 to 44 per cent
now. In metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai, it is more than
100 per cent but is just 16-18 per cent in rural areas.
State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will set up
10,000 towers by March 2010 and 15,000 towers by March 2011 to
improve mobile telephony services.
The Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund - a corpus
created from 5 per cent revenue that companies earned from
providing mobile telephony services in cities - will be used
to increase rural tele-density and provide wireless broadband
connections in villages.
On the issue of profitability of BSNL as compared to
private companies, he said the state-run firm was saddled with
three lakh employees and one-third of its revenue went towards
meeting staff cost. In comparison, the largest private telecom
company may have 20,000 employees consuming 5-8 per cent of
BSNL, he said, had a market share of 77 per cent landline
telephones, 60 per cent in broadband connections and 13.3 per
cent in mobile telephones. The decline in the market share has
been arrested during the past 12 months and the company was
increasing marketing activity.