Minimum mobile data speed becoming a non-starter in India?

mobile-broadband-and-big-dataTRAI has received several comments towards its consultation paper on mobile data speed under wireless broadband plans indicating that most telecom operators do not want to commit a minimum Internet speed to their customers in India.

At the same time, telecom operators including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone India, Reliance Jio, among others, celebrate their speed test results on apps such as Ookla Speedtest, OpenSignal and TRAI’s MySpeed.

Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) said that TRAI should make it mandatory to provide average speed at network level as well as for the user. Such average speed should be available for peak time as well. Peak time also needs to be defined by the wireless TSPs.

The tariff for mobile data services should be based on “usage in bytes” and average speed during a particular period. Operators should offer discount or extension of the plan period if they cannot meet the average speed, ISPAI said.

LIRNEasia, a telecom agency in Sri Lanka, said TRAI should assess some of the tools and make suggestions on its uses. User devices, the air interface, and signal propagation in basements, high rise buildings, etc. will determine the quality of services.

Airtel said it is not technically possible to declare the average speed for geography, for a set of customers, location or time and day. Any effort to make such declaration would be non-standard and misleading for customers. Latency, packet loss, downlink and uplink speed, in absence of exact geographical position, time and day will not be the appropriate criteria for customers to make informed decision, BSNL said.

There’s no point in publishing the minimum speed because the minimum speed would be mathematically zero for any shared wireless access network. India’s wireless customers will feel dissatisfaction if they experience lower than the average speed declared by the mobile data operator.

The apps currently available reveal statistics about download and upload speed of network operators. But the user experience is also dependent on the type of applications in use. Mobile data download experience may be different for video streaming as opposed to audio streaming.

Idea Cellular said TRAI should allow the mobile data services to move through their normal evolutionary cycle without any mandates on QoS and allow the free-play of market forces to decide the appropriate quality for the service.

TRAI should not mandate operators to declare average internet download speed as it will lead to disputes and litigation from the consumers.

Reliance Jio said some of the telecom operators do not offer 4G connection seamlessly and most of the time the wireless consumers experience poor data on 2G or 3G network because of their 4G is absent in all pockets.

Baburajan K