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Post telecom relief, revamp of service quality norms on the cards

Having given a relief package aimed at easing the telecom industry’s financial stress, the attention of the policymakers is now shifting to ensure that operators offer top quality of service to customers.

Sources said there is a move to revamp the current quality of service benchmarks and operators will be asked to meet higher standards. “It’s been six years since the QoS norms were reviewed. Since then, new technologies have come in and operators are offering new services. Over the next two to three months, there will be an in-depth study conducted on whether there is a need to bring new benchmarks,” said a top official. Experts said telecom operators should utilise the next four years to improve their quality of service even without regulatory intervention.

Telecom industry expert Hemant Joshi said telcos need to improve the quality of service, and there are three basic hurdles to the provision of good quality of service.

“Firstly, coordination between calls between 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE technology is hard since the harmonising of technologies is difficult. Furthermore, data consumption has gone through the roof with the onset of the pandemic which is putting immense stress on the network to provide both data-based as well as voice-based services. Further, optimisation at the cell site level is also needed at the moment. However, the regulator (TRAI) making the provision of a baseline of quality of service isn’t necessary; what is needed is that customers need to pay more, or the ability to pay must improve so that telcos can invest into their networks,” he said.

Prashant Singhal, Technology Media and Entertainment and Telecommunications sector leader at EY, said the industry is concerned and is likely to improve the quality of service, now that it has access to funds. “Service quality will be a key market differentiator. While it is true that calls and data situations get dropped, the situation is not so alarming as is the case in other countries where you won’t even get signals. So, the question is not about improvement… it is about improving further.”

Regular monitoring
BK Syngal, former Chairman of VSNL, said Trai is supposed to monitor and carry tests regularly in order to keep telcos in check regarding their degrading quality of service. “There needs to be a clear back and forth channel between the regulator and the service provider in order to improve it, there must be a continuous cycle of measurement,” he said. The Outreach

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