labels: telecom, telecom regulatory authority of india
Mobile network congestion on the rise; TRAI helplessnews
19 June 2007

New Delhi: Telecom regulator TRAI said it cannot issue show cause over loss of calls and poor quality of service due to rising congestion level caused by the increasing mobile subscriber base as the matter is sub judice.

TRAI has said categorically that since the issue is pending with the tribunal, it is unable to issue show cause notices in cases of non-compliances.

A 2005 TRAI directive mandates service providers to provide interconnection on the request of the interconnection seeker within 90 days of the applicable payments. BSNL challenged it at the telecom appellate tribunal, TDSAT, where the issue is currently pending.

The congestion parameter signifies the ease with which customers on one network are able to communicate with those on another network. The benchmark notified by TRAI in the quality of service (QoS) regulation in July 2005 stipulates the congestion level to be below 0.5 per cent or, in ot6her words, not more than one in every 200 calls should face inter-connectivity hurdles.

Data with TRAI, compiled by the regulator for its latest network congestion report (for January-March 2007) shows that the performance of the mobile operations due to the congestion on points of interconnection (POIS) deteriorated in March, compared to the performance in December, 2006.

The number of POIS with congestion increased from 389 in December 2006 to 499 in March, leading to greater loss of calls, repeated call attempts by consumers before the call materialises, deterioration in quality of service (QoS) and consumer dissatisfaction.

Out of these 499 POIS in March, in 245 POIS the level of congestion is more than 5 per cent as compared to 199 POIS in December, last year. The number of such POIS where the level of congestion is more than 10 per cent is 183 in March whereas it was 137 in the month of December, TRAI said.

The number of worst affected POIS where congestion level is more than 40 per cent is 46 in the month of March as compared to 39 POIS in December.

The number of congested POIS from private mobile operators to BSNL increased from 300 in December 2006 to 337 in March. During the same period, POI congestion among private mobile operators has also increased from 89 to 162.

TRAI found non-metro and Tier B and C class cities to be the worst affected. Among metros, Kolkata suffers most.

The circles or states badly affected due to PoI congestion are Bihar, Assam, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, North East, West Bengal, UP (east), Orissa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir.

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Mobile network congestion on the rise; TRAI helpless