TRAI: Telecoms disappoint in call drop test in Mumbai

India smartphone market
TRAI has concluded the quality test drive in Mumbai with all telecoms except Airtel (2G / 3G) and Vodafone (2G) failing to meet the standard rate and MTNL recording to be the worst telecom service in the area.

In the independent auditing drive duration, Bharti Airtel’s 2G and 3G networks had a call drop rate of 1.49 percent and 1.94 percent respectively, while that of Vodafone-2G was 1.68 percent.

MTNL registered 42.92 percent of the same on its 3G network. On the 2G network, MTNL recorded 17.93 percent of the dropped call rate.

The CDMA network of Tata Teleservices was also found to have a high rate of 8.8 percent while Idea Cellular stood at 5 percent.

The drive was conducted over a distance of 580 km from May 10 through May 13, with independent drive tests being conducted by the audit agency IMRB International.

“Most operators (in Mumbai circle), excepting Airtel 2G/3G and Vodafone 2G, are not meeting the under 2 per cent call drop rate benchmark,” said TRAI.

TRAI is now planning to go to the Department of Telecommunications for a way to resolve consumer complaints against these poor performing operators.

TRAI has conducted drive tests previously in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Chandigarh with similar results, but the telecoms have disagreed with the methods followed by the regulator.

Another issue which cropped up at Mumbai was that operators like Aircel, Vodafone and Idea are using call drop masking technology or RLT incorrectly in Mumbai, in order to mask their high call drop rates.

The regulator accused that the service providers are using the technology parameter which decides for how long the call should be sustained if the signal quality drops below a certain set level, such that the call remains connected even if a user moves to poor network coverage area for which he is charged.

Vodafone, with the highest value is said to be using it in 97 percent of cell sites, with Idea Cellular trailing at 80 percent and Aircel around 64 percent of cell sites. Also, Tata Teleservices has been recorded at an RLT value of 23 percent.

Vina Krishnan