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Patchy Mobile Network, Call Drops Frustrate City Residents

Almost two months have passed since Cyclone Fani made landfall on May 3 and damaged the telecom network in the affected areas. While connectivity has been restored since then, customers’ patience is being sorely tested by the patchy network, poor call quality and frequent call drops. Data speed has slowed down as well.

The problem is not confined to the state capital, it is affecting other areas of Odisha. With no solution in sight, frustrated customers have taken to posting complaints against private and government operators on Twitter and other media.

“I use SIM cards from two different networks to avoid call drops. Now, one of the SIMs has almost stopped working in my area near Ekamra Kanan. Calling customer care and dealing with the tedious process of registering a complaint is irritating,” said Smruti Ranjan Biswal, a teacher in an engineering college.

Twitter complaints reveal that customers have been facing this problem for the past one month.

“Sometimes, I need to dial a number at least twice before the call goes through. Friends complain that my phone is switched off or unreachable even when it is not,” said Soumya Ranjan Mohapatra, a student of Utkal University.

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), which has more than 60 lakh customers in the state, said it had taken steps to improve its network after Fani damaged infrastructure. “We have finished repairing and replacing towers in different parts of the city, save three in Chandrasekharpur. We will complete the work by July 7. We will also use additional towers to improve the mobile network and address call drops,” said Udaya Shankar Panda, chief general manager, Odisha, BSNL.

The officials of private networks Jio, Vodafone and Airtel here said they were not authorized to give statements to the media.

Cyclone Fani had damaged several mobile towers in Bhubaneswar, Puri, Khurda and other affected areas.

The mobile network companies’ claim they have repaired and replaced most of the damaged towers is belied by the problems faced by the people. Odisha has 3.26 crore telephone network subscribers as on March this year.—Times of India

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