BTRC mulls outsourcing telcos’ service quality check

HM Murtuza | Updated at 11:32pm on April 20, 2018


A file photo shows a signboard of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission installed outside its office in Dhaka. The BTRC has initiated a move to deploy outsourcing agencies to measure quality of services provided by telecom operators.— New Age photo

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a move to deploy outsourcing agencies to measure quality of services provided by telecom operators.
The move came as the commission finds it difficult to check quality of service of the telecom operators including mobile phone operators with its existing manpower, an official of the commission has told New Age.
The commission would not be able to ensure quality of service offered by the mobile phone operators without test.
Although the commission has been formulating an integrated quality of service regulations for all access network service operators, the telecom regulator is still checking QoS of the mobile phone operators under the directive issued by the telecom regulator on August 24, 2017 meant for 2G and 3G service quality.
Along with the 2G, 3G and 4G service quality of mobile operators, the integrated QoS regulations would also be applicable for all ANS.
Since the directive on QoS was issued only for the mobile operators, the telecom regulator so far conducted tests in only four divisional headquarters and the highways to the divisions from Dhaka.
The commission was going slow mainly for lack of resources — both manpower and equipment, the BTRC official said.
It would take several years to complete drive test at root level where people mainly faced service interruption, if BTRC continued checking QoS at such a pace, he said.
The commission would not be able to recruit additional manpower, especially for the QoS drive test. The only option left for the commission was engaging outsourcing partners to check QoS parameter of operators at root level, the official said.
Industry experts, however, hold that the quality of service directives will hardly bring any positive result to the mobile phone users unless they are enforced.
BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood in early 2017 had said that the commission would introduce ranking of the mobile phone operators based on their performance.
Unless the drive tests were conducted on a regular basis, it would not be wise to formulate any ranking of the operators with poor number of samples, the industry experts observed.
The commission 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 more success rate in terms of establishing connection with the operators’ High-Speed Downlink Packet Access or HSDPA from users’ devices.
On the other hand, mobile phone operators will have to maintain a minimum 7 Megabyte per second (Mbps) internet speed for fourth generation (4G) data service under the integrated QoS regulations.
Besides, operators will have to maintain 160 kilobyte per second (Kbps) internet speed for 2G service and 2Mbps for 3G service while uploading speed must be 40Kbps for 2G and 128Kbps for 3G services.
The integrated QoS also operators will have to limit call drop to 2 per cent and the call setup success rate must be above 97 per cent.
Besides, it also mentioned that the broadband internet services must maintain an average minimum 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speed.
Meanwhile, the commission also kept a provision in the draft QoS regulations that would allow the regulator to impose up to Tk 300 crore penalty over the telecom operators under section 65 of the telecom act.
The regulations, finalised at a recent commission meeting, will be applicable to the operators after they are approved by the posts and telecommunications ministry.