Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission lacks the resources required to conduct adequate drive tests for examining quality of service of mobile phone operators.
Maintaining the service quality is a must for all the operators under the directives issued by the telecom regulator on August 24 last year.
The commission, through the directives, asked the operators to ensure a minimum 512-kilobyte per second downlink speed of internet under 3G-covered areas.
It also instructed the mobile operators to ensure a minimum 50kbps upload speed immediately while increasing it to 70kbps after one year.
The directives also asked the operators to ensure 95 per cent or above success rate in terms of establishing connection with the operators’ High-Speed Downlink Packet Access or HSDPA from users’ devices.
Although the commission issued directives in this regard, only one of its officers along with a set of devices was deployed to measure the quality of service, officials of the commission said on Thursday.
The devices do not allow measuring data and voice quality on the single day, requiring the commission official to visit the same location twice, the officials said.
It is practically not possible for a person to travel constantly and so the drive tests have been running slowly, they noted.
Due to the impediments, the commission could so far conduct drive tests in major roads within the Dhaka city and a couple of divisional headquarters in five months since the issuance of the directives, they said.
It would take several years to complete the areas of the districts if the drive tests were carried out at the same speed, they said.
Although there was provision in the directives for running drive tests through third parties, the commission is yet to consider the alternatives, a BTRC official told New Age last week.
Instead, the commission is planning to procure another set of device in this regard, he said.
Industry experts, however, said that the quality of service directives would hardly bring any positive result for the mobile phone users unless they were enforced.
The BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood in early 2017 said that the commission would introduce ranking of the mobile phone operators based on their performance.
Unless the drive tests were conducted adequately, it would not be wise to formulate any ranking of the operators with poor number of samples, the industry experts said.
Meanwhile, the commission initiated a move to formulate an integrated quality of service regulations for the access network services, including mobile phone operators, internet service providers and PSTN operators.
Once the integrated quality of service regulation is enacted, the commission will face more hurdles in conducting drive tests in absence of adequate manpower and equipment resources.
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