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Reporting of call drop data at state level difficult, COAI to regulator

Mobile operators’ body COAI on Tuesday said that sector regulator’s instructions to telcos to report call drop data even state-wise entails several administrative and execution “difficulties” on ground, and that reporting should continue at LSA (Licensed Service Area) level.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), last week at a review meeting, asked telecom operators to report call drop data at state level too, amid rising instances of service quality issues and consumer complaints.

The industry association COAI on Tuesday said it has urged Trai to “reconsider” the move and continue with LSA-wise reporting, SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI (Cellular Operators’ Association of India), told reporters.

COAI’s members including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

Kochhar said that telecom operators fully “support giving the best services to subscribers with whatever it takes”, but pointed to “administrative problems” that would arise in reporting call drop data state-wise.

“…but the point is the roll and monitoring of telecom service has been done circle-wise and LSA-wise, and all reporting hinges on that. Now if you introduce geographical boundaries of a state or a district, then there will be difficulties because it comes under different jurisdictions for different LSAs,” Kochhar said.

In such a reporting structure “who will coordinate, who will aggregate all this data”, Kochhar said, adding it will require system to be tweaked, entailing cost and time.

“…therefore we have suggested to Trai to reconsider and make it LSA-wise, that serves the same purpose,” he said.

Trai, last week, asked telecom operators to report call drop and outage data at the state level also and take immediate steps to “demonstrate visible improvement” in quality of service and connectivity experience for consumers across the country.

In that meeting held on Friday, the regulator made it clear to players that more stringent service benchmarks are on the anvil when it comes to calling quality parameters, and that a consultation process will be initiated by Trai in the coming months for this.

While an overhaul of call quality benchmarks is on the cards, companies even now will have to report call drop and outage data at a state level, and perhaps at a later stage at the district level as well.

This means that the data reported will be more granular and detailed (for 29 states) as against the current practice of data reported at the level of Licensed Service Areas (22 LSAs in all) and averaged on a quarterly basis.

Trai believes that state-level reporting will ensure that the problem areas and patchy networks in certain states, especially north-east, can be clearly identified, and corrective action can be taken by players. At present, local problem areas don’t show up as clearly on the radar, as the reporting structure for data is based on LSAs (a larger reporting area in some cases), that too averaged out.

While such detailed reporting (at state level) will start immediately, making it part of QoS (quality of service) norms, and imposing financial disincentives will take some time, Trai Chairman P D Vaghela had said last week.

Operators, as they roll out 5G network, will need to ensure that there is least disturbance or degradation of service quality of existing telecom services. PTI

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