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Trai: Telecom services quality unsatisfactory

Telecom sector 2
(Representative image)
NEW DELHI: The quality of services offered by mobile operators has failed to see an improvement, despite recent hikes in tariffs, Trai has said. The regulator expressed serious concerns over depleting consumer services, especially in multi-storied office complexes and residential areas, malls and airports.

“I am not satisfied with the quality of services that is currently offered by mobile operators,” Trai chairman R S Sharma told TOI. He added that he will be calling the companies shortly to discuss the issue.

Sharma said companies need to make investments for deploying in-building connectivity solutions, even as he made a recommendation that real estate developers be mandated to install telecom infrastructure that could be used by various mobile and internet service providers. On the issue of poor call and internet quality, he said the regulator recently conducted a survey to understand consumer problems. “Instead of measuring the network quality through regular road tests, we decided to carry out an assessment within complexes. We even spoke to residents to understand their issues.”

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The process threw up alarming results. “We noticed unsatisfactory service inside closed and common spaces. Our survey was conducted in six-seven cities, which included Bhopal, Kolkata and Bangalore.”

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the grouping of telecom companies, says that network irritants are “localised problems (and) should not be projected as problems covering entire service areas”. It blames problems in installing towers or getting right of way (RoW) for fibre for the network issues. “Our member operators are working closely with the authorities in states and local bodies to resolve the issues of the sealing/shutdown of telecom sites,” Rajan Mathews, DG of COAI said.

However, consumer groups say services should see a mark-up after recent tariff hikes, which were increased by over 40%. Sharma said that the regulator maintains a “close watch” over the movement in tariffs, even as it provides freedom to companies to make the changes.

COAI has petitioned Trai to fix a floor price for call and internet rates.
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