TRAI to Improve MySpeed App, Publish White Paper by Month-End

TRAI to Improve MySpeed App, Publish White Paper by Month-End

HIGHLIGHTS

  • TRAI will improve its MySpeed app after evaluating telcos’ methods
  • It said will soon come out with a white paper on underlying methodology
  • Ookla and other data speed measurement firms have been contacted

Telecom regulator TRAI plans to strengthen its MySpeed app, which measures mobile data speeds, and will also make its evaluation method more transparent after consultation with operators, its chairman R S Sharma said.

Some operators had complained about methods and results of the TRAI’s MySpeed app, and the regulator will soon come out with a white paper on underlying methodology and algorithms used by the said app for calculating data speeds of various service providers.

“We have also contacted Ookla and others. We are trying to understand what their methods are … We would like all stakeholders to sit together and come to a conclusion over most appropriate methodology,” the TRAI chairman said.

The regulator will also take suggestions from operators on the issue, he said.

“We will sit together with the operators and take their suggestions as what should be an agreed methodology so there are no such complaints,” Sharma said on the sidelines of the TRAI’s open house discussion on ‘data speed under wireless broadband plans’.

After strengthening the service quality norms for voice calls, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is now focusing its attention on benchmarks for data experience of consumers.

TRAI hopes to finalise, by month-end, views on parameters for measuring data speeds for wireless broadband.

“There were large number of quality of service (norms) for voice (offerings) like call drops. Data has recently started becoming prominent, and voice is now an application on top of data. So there is a need to have much better grip on the QoS in the data world,” he added.

Sharma said that both TRAI’s views on the data speed issue and its white paper on MySpeed app will be out by the month-end.

“Work on both the aspects will happen simultaneously,” he said.

While operators had previously stated that having a minimum guaranteed data speed would be difficult in the wireless world, TRAI is looking at suitable parameters, say average speed, that could serve as a benchmark.

In its consultation paper on wireless broadband data speeds, TRAI has also sought industry’s views on whether information on wireless broadband speeds currently being disclosed is enough for consumers to make informed choices.

It has asked if average speed can be specified by service providers. The consultation also touches on other related issues such as the need to revisit service quality parameters or existing benchmarks stipulated in the regulations.

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Trai Issues Consultation Paper on Service Quality Standards

Trai Issues Consultation Paper on Service Quality Standards
As the call drop issue remains yet to be fully addressed, the telecom regulator on Friday issued a consultation paper seeking opinion of stakeholders on how quality of services could be improved by the telecom service providers.

It also talked about introducing a graded financial disincentives based on performance.

“How should the call drop rate calculated – either at the Licensed service area level calculated during TCBH (Time Consistent Busy Hour), or calculated during the Cell Bouncing Busy Hour at BTS (Base Transceiver Station) level should be the benchmark,” the consultation paper issued by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) asked.

Currently the benchmark for call drop rate is less than 2 percent.

“Considering the performance of service providers and also considering the public outcry in recent times it is felt that there is enough ground for further tightening of the benchmark for this parameter,” the paper said.

The consultation paper titled “Review of network related Quality of Service standards for Cellular Mobile Telephone Service” has sought stakeholders comments by August 26, 2016 and counter comments by September 2, 2016.

“How should the benchmark for the network parameters be revised? Should it be licensed service area wise or district wise or BTS wise or a combination? In such cases what should be the benchmarks? How should the benchmarks be measured?” it asked.

It sought opinion regarding how to calculate call drop rate. It also raised concern over radio link timeout (RLT). “Do you think it is essential to mandate the TSPs to set the RLT parameter? If so what should be the criteria to set the value and the value that needs to be set.”

“Do you think calculation of customer satisfaction index will help in quality of experience of the consumer? If so elaborate the methodology of the calculation of such indexes. What are the latent variable that need to be defined and how are they to be calculated?” it also asked.

It further added: “What are your views on introducing a graded financial disincentives based on performance and what should be such quantum of financial disincentives for various parameters?”

“Customer satisfaction is the major determining factor in the emergence of new services, setting standards and designing of network. Therefore, the customer requirements and expectations are paramount consideration in reviewing quality of service standards irrespective of the technology that has been deployed in the network,” the regulator said.
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Tags: Call Drops, India, Mobiles, Telecom, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Trai

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Airtel Challenges TRAI Decision Allowing Reliance Jio to Continue Free Services Offer

Airtel Challenges TRAI Decision Allowing Reliance Jio to Continue Free Services OfferAirtel Challenges TRAI Decision Allowing Reliance Jio to Continue Free Services Offer
Bharti Airtel on Friday moved telecom dispute tribunal TDSAT against TRAI allowing Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to continue free promotional offer beyond stipulated 90 days, charging the telecom regulator of being a “mute spectator” to violations.

In its 25-page petition before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), Airtel – India’s largest private mobile services operator – asked the quasi-judicial body to direct TRAI to ensure that Reliance Jio does not provide its free voice and data plan beyond December 3.

Airtel alleged that violation of TRAI’s tariff orders has been continuing since March 2016, causing “significant prejudice and day-to-day loss” to it and “affecting its network” as it has to bear asymmetric traffic due to free call offer by Reliance Jio.

Jio first launched an inaugural free voice and data plan beginning September 4 and earlier this month extended it till March 31.

Giving reasons for its petition, Airtel said the “free services” continue in blatant violation of the TRAI’s Directions, Tariff Orders and the Regulations with “TRAI as a mute spectator.”
When the petition was mentioned before a bench of TDSAT on Friday, Jio counsel was present who asked to be impleaded as a party to the case. TRAI submitted that it needs 10 more days to take a decision.
TDSAT directed TRAI to come back with its decision on the next day and directed Reliance Jio to file an impleadment application.

Next date of hearing has been fixed for January 6, 2017. Airtel in the petition alleged that TRAI in its decision dated October 20 “erroneously concluded” that since the Jio’s promotional offer of free services was only valid till December 3, it is consistent with the “90 days” directions of TRAI.

“The TRAI further without affording any reasoning baldly, cryptically and in a non-transparent manner in violation of Section 11(4) of the TRAI Act concluded that the Tariff Plans offered by the said TSP are not non-compliant with IUC and are not predatory and discriminatory at present. The impugned decision of TRAI is thus bad in law and deserves to be quashed,” it said.

The appeal, it said, has been filed against TRAI’s October 20 decision as well as against its “continued failure to fulfil its statutory obligation” under TRAI Act by prohibiting the blatant violation of its own Tariff Orders and Regulations.

Tags: Airtel, Reliance Jio, TRAI, Jio Happy New Year Offer, India

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Trai to Release Discussion Paper on Net Neutrality by Month-End

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Trai to Release Discussion Paper on Net Neutrality by Month-End Press Trust of India, 11 August 2016
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Trai to Release Discussion Paper on Net Neutrality by Month-End
Telecom regulator Trai Wednesday said it will bring out a consultation paper on Net Neutrality, and separately also firm-up its views on the issue of Free Data by the end of the month.

“For net neutrality, the pre-consultation has happened and we are now in the process of firming-up the final consultation paper, hopefully by the end of this month,” Trai Chairman, R S Sharma said on the sidelines of a conference.

He further said the regulator will take a view on Free Data in a similar timeframe. “By month-end, we will be able to take a call… I can’t say what will be the outcome of that.

Every consultation paper does not have to result into regulation or tariff order but whatever the conclusion, we will be able to make it, by the month-end,” he said.

The two issues, Free Data and Net Neutrality, will be handled separately. “These two will be different, certainly. Because in the Free Data paper, we have said that whatever architecture is brought out that should respect the principles of Net Neutrality,” he said.

In Free Data, the regulator is exploring models to give consumers free Internet service within the Net Neutrality framework, after barring platforms like Facebook’s Free Basics and Airtel Zero under its differential pricing rule.
It sought public views on whether there is a need to have TSP-agnostic platform to provide free data or suitable reimbursement to users, without violating the principles of its differential pricing for data rules.

In May this year, Trai, through a pre-consultation round, sought public views on aspects of Net Neutrality that need be considered for a discussion framework.

There has been a conflict between telecom operators, Internet companies and consumers interest on the issue of net neutrality.

While all the three major stakeholders – telecom operators, Internet companies and consumers – favour net neutrality, they define it differently from their standpoint.

The debate on net neutrality picked up in India when telecom operator Bharti Airtel in December 2014 decided to charge extra for making Internet calls. But, the company rolled back its plan after public protest.

It then launched Airtel Zero platform which provided fee access to websites under it, while websites were required pay for being on it.

Later, Facebook also came up with a zero rating platform ‘Free Basics’ which provided free access to some websites available on its platform for Reliance Communications customers in India. Both these platforms were seen as violation to net neutrality and later Trai issued a regulation which barred zero rating platform.

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Tags: Airtel, Airtel Zero, Apps, Facebook, Free Basics, India, Internet, Net Neutrality, Trai

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