KARACHI: After protracted delay of two years, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), ignoring the external pressure will flex its muscles in February 2014 by checking the quality of service (QoS) being provided by Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) to consumers.
In this regard, PTA’s senior official responding to the scribe’s query confirmed that the regulator has decided to conduct comprehensive QoS drive test survey in 2014. The first phase of such a survey is commencing in February in which all zonal offices of PTA will simultaneously test or monitor QoS of mobile services in major cities across the country.
PTA zonal offices, located in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Rawalpindi will be carrying out the survey.
The official further said that PTA is regularly monitoring QoS of all mobile operators, now, moving forward, a comprehensive QoS drive test survey has been planned that will start from next month.
PTA was being criticised in the media for not performing its duties appropriately by not conducting QoS since 2011 when the last QoS was executed.
According to reliable sources, the main reason behind PTA’s reluctance for last two years to conduct QoS was external pressure that was being put on the regulator by one leading cellular company.
Sources said that the company, using its strong connections in regime had been forcing the regulator to avoid the QoS as the operator was found providing poor quality service in the last survey.
Despite the fact that PTA was fully equipped in 2007 with the latest instruments to measure network service quality of Internet Service Protocols (ISPs) and CMOs through survey in 2007, the QoS survey was not carried out since 2011.
Industry experts praising the PTA’s decision to conduct QoS again in 2014 said that ahead of the 3G auction, the QoS would actually help the consumers decide better network to explore the next generation technologies.
The survey is conducted through QoS monitoring equipment while PTA officials are fully trained on this new equipment. It is expected that the survey’s results would be revealed by July 2014. It is worth mentioning here that PTA has mandate to take actions against the companies not meeting the required quality standards.
For the voice data, throughout the surveys, PTA measures network down time, grade of service (Blocking), call completion ratio, call connection time and call quality while for the Short Messaging Service (SMS), service accessibility and end-to-end delivery time is measured by the regulator.
The QoS survey is generally conducted across Pakistan to measure the QoS offered to consumers. This measurement procedure is in line with the best international practices followed by regulators worldwide.
Earlier in July 2011, PTA carried out a QoS results of which were announced in December 2011. According to the survey PTA said that CMOs did not comply fully with the parameters defined by PTA. It is expected in the upcoming survey that quality of cellular services may have improved but the price war and consumer lugging battle among all CMOs have exploited the consumer most in the last two years especially.
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