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No Additional Spectrum Required To Maintain Stability, Quality Of Networks: COAI

The telecom operators in the country are of opinion that they don’t require additional spectrum to maintain the stability and quality of their networks, as traffic has flattened, while there is no downtime of services.

“Over the past few days, the industry, in concert with actions coordinated with the DoT (Department of Telecommunications), has seen a flattening of traffic demand on the members’ networks. Some of these actions relate to streaming services reducing their content from High Definition (HD) to Standard Definition (SD), local municipalities working with operators to bring sealed towers back on line, and some redistribution of traffic on the network, among others,” said Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director-General Rajan S Mathews.

“As a result, operators believe there is no present need to request any additional spectrum. Based on the present condition of member networks, we believe there is no such present need, and operators remain confident that the steps they have taken presently can maintain the relatability and quality of their networks and services,” he added.

Now only 20 percent of the total telecom employees — those on the frontline such as customer care, network operations centre and handling other critical functions — are coming to work, while the remaining 80 percent are working from home.

In many States, police are not letting technicians move around for repair and maintenance work, while there have also been cases of telecom staff being manhandled as well.

“These are the biggest hindrances to telecom infrastructure’s uptime. As of now, we have succeeded in maintaining the telecom networks up and running across the country,” Mathews added.

The three private operators — Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea — employ 12,000-15,000 personnel per firm, and State-owned BSNL emply about 70,000.

“In rural areas, while the towers and telecom infrastructure are supported by electricity, we also have battery and diesel back-ups. In case of diesel-powered towers, it has to be replenished. We have requested the DoT and the Ministry of Home Affairs to grant passes to our technicians to ensure that they can continue to fill diesel,” Mathews said.

Separately, the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) has formed a special task force to oversee the operational preparedness across the country.

―The Hindu Business Line

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