In a closed-door meeting with the officials from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Wednesday, the telecom operators have cited factors such as poor quality of handsets, use of illegal boosters and jammers, right of way (RoW)-related permissions, among others, affecting the user experience with regard to call drops and data services, according to the sources.
The meeting was chaired by telecom secretary K Rajaraman and was attended by representatives of telecom operators—Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea. Broadband service providers including Hathway and OneOTT also attended the meeting.
“It was a general discussion to get a sense of the quality of services from the telecom operators. The government is open to extending any policy support to the telcos which is needed for improving the telecom services,” an official said on the condition of anonymity, adding that the telecom operators through the Cellular Operators Association of India (Coai) are expected to share their submission on any kind of policy interventions if required.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has prescribed the services quality parameters for telecom operators. The telecom regulator, which conducts drive tests on a regular basis to check the network quality of telecom operators, mainly checks these through methods such as drop call rate (DCR) spatial distribution measure, which means that call drop rate should not exceed 2% for 90% of the telecom towers of an operator in a circle for at least 90% of the days. This means call drops will not be measured on the basis of circle but that of towers.
Another method is DCR temporal distribution measure, according to which, in the worst case or during busy hours, call drop rate must not exceed the 3% benchmark for 97% of the towers in a telecom circle for 90% of the days.
“Currently, our quality of service is better than Trai benchmark. Issues like tower fiberisation, cuts in cable ducts, right-of-way-related permissions in some areas, boosters, etc, largely affects the user experience,” a representative of a telecom operator said, adding the telcos are constantly working to improve the service quality.
On issues related to use of boosters, the telecom operators said that people are using these equipments to improve their signal strength which in a way affects the quality of network for others in the area. “These boosters are easily available on the e-commerce sites. The government has said that it will look into the issue and ban such things on an immediate basis,” the telecom operator official said.
According to telcos, poor quality of handsets from some smartphone brands also lead to a weak network quality experience for users and the similar issue was raised by them during the meeting.
In September, communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had asked the telecom regulator to increase the quality of services parameters by 3-4 times. “Whatever the quality of service we are seeing today, it should improve significantly,” Vaishnaw had said.
In the meeting, the telecom department also discussed about consumer redressal mechanism used the telecom operators to handle complains.