Telecom regulator plans quality indicators for mobile data service

Written by Anandita Singh Mankotia | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 6 2012, 09:49am hrs
With data traffic surging on the mobile networks across the country, the telecom regulator is now planning to monitor the quality of data services provided by the operators.

Compiled on a quarterly basis, the quality indicators will be in addition to the steps currently in place to monitor voice services delivered on wireless networks across the country. Primarily in consumer interest, these benchmark quality indicators will ensure that telecom operators stick to their committed tariff plans.

The parameters on which the operators will be assessed include successful data transmission download, upload attempts from a test server, minimum download speed from a test server covering all tariff plans, average throughput for packet data from a test server for all tariff plans, latency for data services from a test server, PDP context activation success rate and data drop rate.

Additionally, the regulator has also been mandated that service providers notify any changes in any data services offered on their websites, along with their tariff, clearly indicating the cities and towns where such data services and tariff plans are applicable.

The development comes as a decline in 3G tariffs has begun to gain traction in the market with increasing number of people accessing the Internet via a mobile device a trend clearly evident from the latest financial numbers reported by telecom operators. Bharti Airtel's average revenue per data user increased by 9% during the second quarter ending September, the data traffic on its networks also leapt 26% resulting in data usage of 133 MB per customer a 19% hike.

Its the same story across the industry as all operators including Vodafone, Reliance Communcations and Idea Cellular saw either a spurt or at least a significant rise in the data traffic.

Vodafone for instance registered a 50% spurt in browsing revenues at R875 crore for half year ending September, while data revenue as percentage of wireless revenue increased from 4.5% in the first quarter of the current financial year to 5.5% for Idea Cellular. Reliance Communications, too, recorded a hike from 20.2% to 20.8% for data revenue as percentage of wireless revenue for the second quarter of the current financial year.