Telecom regulator TRAI has held a meeting with telecom companies on February 17 to discuss measures and action plans to improve service quality, normative review, 5G service benchmarks and unsolicited commercial communications.
The meeting is significant because improvements in the quality of telecom services are bound to delight mobile customers frustrated with dropped calls and network instability. It’s also when superfast 5G services are rolled out across the country.
As many as 200 cities in India have so far rolled out 5G services, a next-generation technology that promises turbo-charged speeds (about 10 times faster than 4G) and low-latency connections.
Issues surrounding quality of service have been in the spotlight over the past few months. Back in December, the telecoms ministry met with operators to discuss rising dropped calls and quality-of-service-related issues as it considered policy measures it could consider to improve call quality.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said in a statement on Thursday that quality of service (QoS) improvement “is an ongoing effort that requires close assessment and monitoring, especially in times of rapid network expansion and the introduction of latest technologies such as 5G.” Accordingly, TRAI has held a meeting with telecom service providers on 17 February 2023 “to discuss measures and action plans to improve QoS, review of QoS standards, QoS for 5G services and unsolicited commercial communications”.
India is the second largest smartphone market in the world with over 1.14 billion mobile subscribers as of November 2022. Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are the major players.
TRAI monitors the performance of various connectivity services provided by telecom operators by collecting Performance Monitoring Reports (PMR) on a quarterly basis. PMRs are published on the TRAI website, and the regulator also conducts audits and assessments to measure service providers’ performance against prescribed QoS benchmarks.
“There is regular interaction with relevant stakeholders through meetings, consultation papers and open house discussions to review the state of QoS and further measures to improve the consumer experience,” the TRAI statement said.
On 28 December, the Ministry of Telecommunications held discussions with telecommunications companies to identify policy and operational measures that would help improve the quality of telecommunications services in the country.
The meeting, chaired by Telecom Minister K Rajaraman, was attended by telecom service providers including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea.
Interference issues from illicit boosters and right-of-way (RoW) challenges were discussed at the time, and the operator had detailed the current level of service quality to the government, based on defined benchmarks.
Following those talks, industry sources said the transport ministry pointed to consumer complaints about service quality at the meeting, adding that the company insisted that service quality norms were met. The industry also mentions locations that face specific issues due to signal interference or other factors.
In September this year, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that telecom service quality parameters may be more stringent and stringent, possibly by a factor of 3-4.
The minister, who has urged the industry, including telecom operators and infrastructure providers, to “go full steam ahead” to improve the quality of services in the country, has announced a series of reforms and proposed more.
“You can’t just clap with one hand, you need two. It can’t just be that we keep doing what you ask. You also have to do what we ask,” Vaishnaw said at the time.
“I’m going to ask the (telecommunications) department to send a new consultation paper to TRAI to significantly improve the quality of service parameters, almost 3 or 4 times what they are today, so whatever quality of service we’re seeing should be evident now. is improving,” Vaishnaw said at an industry event on Sept. 14.