Govt admits network congestion, call drops

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New Delhi, Mar 13 (UNI) The government today admitting that the mobile phone network in the country suffers from network congestion during peak hour and is susceptible to call drops, said mobile operators must function in a ''shared infrastructure'' environment.

''There is congestion during peak period,'' Communications and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran said during Question Hour in the Upper House.

To a question from Mr Kripal Parmar of BJP, Mr Maran said the demand is so high from both operators and users that whenever a mobile tower is set up, it is immediately occupied. ''We have started increasing the number of towers,'' he said.

He said the setting up of towers is an ongoing process and pointed out that even the congestion around Parliament has been cleared by erecting new concealed towers.

Mr Maran said he has convened a meeting of private operators to share mobile towers. ''There should be one antenna for all the operators,'' he added.

The meeting will also ensure that operators work in a level playing field.

Mr Maran said a GOM has been constituted to look into the spectrum issue which will also ease the network congestion.

Answering a question from Ms Shobhana Bharatiya, Nominated, he said the GOM report will be made available soon.

Mr Maran said the combination of lack of spectrum and availability of towers has contributed to the current network congestion during peak period.

Answering supplementaries from BJP member Sushma Swaraj, Mr Maran said the question of ''unsolicited calls'' from mobile operators are being looked into.

UNI RT MSJ HS1257

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