TRAI Reports Rise in Call Drops Complaint, Begins Service Quality Rules Review

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that even with the technological advancement in mobile telecommunications and advancement in performance management tools, the quality of experience (QoE) of consumers has not improved as expected though such quality of service (QoS) requirements are supported by technology standards.

At present the quality of service is measured at telecom circle level which is generally equal to the size of a state level.

TRAI observed that though the service providers have launched mobile apps and web interfaces for customers, the consumer continues to face problems in registering their complaints due to complicated workflows.

The regulator said that the Standards of Quality of Service for Wireless Data Services were notified in the era of 2G and 3G services wherein data services were delivered over circuit-switched networks and their QoS performance benchmarks were set based on the capability of underlying technology.

“Even with widespread coverage of 4G networks in the country and rollout of 5G services, there are increasing number of complaints of call drops, call muting, low data throughput etc. which raises question marks on the network design and provisioning of required network resources,” TRAI said.

The regulator has fixed September 20 as the last date for comments and October 5 for counter comments of draft rules. 

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It said that the number of calls at call centres has not reduced, and service providers are not able to meet current benchmarks in many cases even after the rollout of mobile apps.

The regulator has proposed to tighten call drop parameters, call success rate etc under the quality of service rules.

“The QoS parameters and benchmarks for voice and data services are technology agnostic in present regulations. The relevant terminology for 5G services has also been updated in draft regulations to monitor QoS performance of 5G,” Trai said.

“The issues related to the quality of telecom services are not only reflected in consumer complaints but also find substantial mention in Parliament Questions,” TRAI said.

“Further, there is a significant number of feature phones in the mobile network that cannot use mobile apps for the registration of complaints. Therefore, the Authority is not in favour of relaxing this benchmark for the sub-parameter accessibility of call centre numbers and percentage of calls answered by operators (voice to voice),” TRAI said.

“Due to averaging over LSA, even very poor performance against QoS benchmarks in a few districts may not get reflected in performance reports. Therefore, in such cases, performance against QoS benchmarks may need to be reviewed at even district level if required,” the regulator said.

Telecom regulator TRAI on Friday said that it has been receiving a number of call drop complaints from subscribers triggering the need to review existing quality of service rules to measure network performance at the district level and bring 4G-5G services also under its ambit. 

At present, packet core networks with LTE (4G), LTE-Advanced and 5G technology constitute more than 75 percent of the telecom network in the country. It said that the present QoS benchmark envisages latency to be less than 250 milliseconds (ms) for wireless data services and less than 120ms for wireline broadband service which are not in sync with the requirement of present-day applications.

TRAI said the performance against some QoS benchmarks like network availability and drop call rates varies across districts.