The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Network blues dog bullish CellOne in city

The much-hyped CellOne service of Calcutta Telephones (CalTel), launched in October-end, has hit yet another hurdle after the initial euphoria following its nationwide debut.

In the face of growing demand for fresh connections, sources said the CalTel is saddled with a number of hiccups — shortage of towers, insufficient radio connectivity and large numbers of roaming subscribers, creating congestion.

According to sources, CalTel is not in a position to increase its customer base due to inadequate infrastructure. While CellOne has roped in nearly 45 lakh countrywide customers in the past 11 months, CalTel has a meagre 24,000 customer base.

The BSNL call centre in Calcutta reportedly receives more than 400 queries on CellOne every day. But CalTel may delay in providing new connections due to lack of proper infrastructure, said a senior official, on condition of anonymity. A cap on connections at 12,000 is being considered at present.

Several CellOne customers have complained of poor network in the city, especially in business hubs like BBD Bag and Esplanade.

The sharp rise in roaming customers, who fall under the CalTel network through the Visiting Location Register (VLR), is adding pressure on the network, sources said.

General manager, CalTel customer services, R.K. Mishra, however, denied the charges. “There is no problem in our network. We are trying to stabilise the system before providing new connections,” he explained. “The commercial inputs are not yet ready and we also have to work on the distributor network. Tests are being carried out.”

Mishra confirmed that CalTel was planning to add 72 new base transmission stations to augment the capacity “as we expect heavy migration from other networks”. “We want to ensure that those who migrate are satisfied with our network. So, we are taking time,” he added.

nSaha case: The National Consumer Redressal Commission (NCDRC) will take up on Monday a contempt petition against Calcutta district consumer commission president P.K. Bhaduri for his alleged non-compliance of an order of the NCDRC for video-conferencing the evidence of a US-based doctor Kunal Saha in his Rs 77.7-crore damage claim case.

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