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QoS: Still Short - Operators improve performance, but fail to meet QoS benchmarks

April 15, 2005
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Based on the information provided by basic and cellular operators on the performance of their service networks against the quality benchmarks prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the regulator has brought out its report on the quality of service (QoS) for the quarter ended December 2004.

According to the report, while most of the operators –­ basic and cellular, private and state owned –­ have performed better than in the previous quarter, they are still behind several QoS benchmarks.

Here are the highlights of the report...

Basic service providers
The report covers 63 service providers in 27 service areas. While the performance, particularly in basic services, has improved substantially on a number of parameters compared to the previous quarter (ended September 2004), most of the operators are still short of meeting their QoS benchmarks. The performance of wireless-based operations is much better than that of wireline-based networks.

  • In the area of providing new telephone connections, nearly 40 out of the 63 operators did not meet the benchmark (100 per cent new connections to be provided within seven days of registration of demand). The performance of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was particularly bad on this benchmark. Its performance in Uttar Pradesh (East) was only 0.98 per cent followed by Punjab with 3.34 per cent, Jharkhand with 4.28 per cent, Bihar with 4.96 per cent, Kerala with 5.05 per cent and West Bengal with 5.43 per cent. Private operators, on the other hand, performed much better and maintained an average of 90 per cent on this QoS benchmark, except Bharti which registered 85.37 per cent and 89.09 per cent respectively in Delhi and Tamil Nadu, and Shyam Telecom with 85.02 per cent in Rajasthan. Most of the private operators providing fixed basic service had predominantly wireless subscribers.
  • On the benchmark of three faults per 100 subscribers per month, both BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) failed to meet the parameter in any of their circles. The highest fault rate recorded was 17.06 per cent for MTNL in Delhi, followed by 10.82 per cent by BSNL in Chhattisgarh and 10.66 per cent in Jammu & Kashmir. Among the private operators, Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) did not meet the benchmark in Delhi, Mumbai and Maharashtra. Shyam Telelink failed to meet the benchmark in Rajasthan.
  • According to the benchmark, more than 90 per cent of faults must be repaired by the next working day. BSNL did not meet this quality standard, in 16 out of 26 circles, MTNL too failed to make the grade in both Delhi and Mumbai. Amongst the private operators, only TTSL in Andhra Pradesh did not meet the benchmark.
  • On the parameter of less than eight hours mean time to repair, BSNL in 19 circles and MTNL in both the metros did not meet the benchmark. The other operator that did not match up was TTSL in Andhra Pradesh.
  • In the area of billing credibility, where the parameter has been set at "less than 0.1 per cent of bills disputed in a billing cycle", BSNL lagged behind in most of its circles while MTNL was behind in Mumbai. Among the private operators, TTSL fell short in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Mumbai while Bharti failed to match up in Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Haryana.

    Cellular service providers
    During the quarter ended December 2004, 85 operators reported their performance on the prescribed QoS parameters in 24 service areas. Compared to the performance in the previous quarter, TRAI reports that the number of operators meeting the QoS benchmarks this time has increased significantly.

  • On the parameter of accumulated downtime of community isolation being less than 24 hours, 74 out of 85 service providers met the benchmark. Bharti Cellular scored the lowest with 99.71 hours in Madhya Pradesh, followed by 94.1 hours by Bharti Mobile network in Karnataka, 85.1 hours by Idea Cellular in Maharashtra and 84.07 hours by BPL Cellular in Tamil Nadu.
  • Against the benchmark of less than 99 per cent call success rate (within the licensee's own network), 23 service providers could not meet the standard, including eight private operators. BSNL's performance at 88 per cent in Kerala and Karnataka was the lowest.
  • All the service providers met the benchmark for "service access delay" and "call drop rate".
  • On the parameter of meeting billing complaints at less than 0.1 per cent complaints per 100 bills issued, 21 service providers did not meet the standard. Most of these were private service providers.

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