|The QoS Report Card for Telecom Operators|
By the 31st of March, 2011, the total number of telecom subscribers in India has reached 846.32 million as per the TRAI reports, with around 66.7% urban and 33.3% rural subscribers. With more than fifteen major service providers presently working the telecom industry in India, it only becomes imperative for a subscriber to be informed about the quality of service (QoS) provided by each service provider so as to enable a subscriber to take an informed decision while choosing an operator.
The performance of a service provider is measured on basis of various parameters, for example - call completion rates, network connectivity, fault corrections, metering and billing credibility, quick resolution of complaints, customer service, Point of Interconnection (POI) congestion, voice quality etc. TRAI monitors the quality of services on a quarterly basis and analysis the best performing service provider based on this data.
In the quarter ending March, 2011, most telecom operators were able to replicate the call success rate of more than 95% as per TRAI's benchmark. However, the number of operators not meeting the benchmark increased from 0.4% to 1.7% from the previous quarter. Similarly the traffic congestion, which ideally, as per TRAI, should be less than or equal to 2%, also saw an increase from 2.1% to 2.5% of operators, not meeting the benchmark, from the previous quarter. The call drop rate saw an improvement from 2.5% to 2.1% of operators not able to meet the TRAI's recommendation of less than or equal to 2% of call drop rate. Similarly, connection with good voice quality also improved from 3% to 1.7% of operators, not able to meet TRAI's expectation of more than 95% benchmark. The metering and billing credibility as well as customer support has also shown improvement. However, the POI congestion and complaints resolution has seen deterioration as compared to the previous quarter.
As per TRAI's remark, most of the operators have increased their subscriber base without considering the fact that they do not possess adequate infrastructure to sustain the growing subscriber base. As for the operators, the funds that they kept aside to upgrade the network has gone into the funding for 3G and broadband spectrum. Operators seem to be facing an extremely tight situation.
While BSNL and MTNL were found to be the biggest defaulters who did not meet the benchmark for a number of parameters as indicated by TRAI, Bharti Airtel contended for a close third. The latest TRAI report, though, has something to cheer about. Tata DoCoMo, a relatively new entrant lives up to the expectations by being able to meet all the benchmarks set by TRAI. Where network availability is emerging as the most important factor than extent of geographical presence, we now have the means to know whom to approach for the anytime, anywhere connectivity satisfaction. With DoCoMo, there is no getting away for sure!!