The cellular mobile operators (CMOs) have missed most of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) mentioned in their licenses and the applicable regulations concerning webpage loading time and latency, an independent survey about the quality of service (QoS) carried out by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has revealed.
The PTA has instructed the operators to take corrective measures to raise the quality of service as per the standards mentioned in the licenses. To measure the performance and service quality of the CMOs, an independent QoS survey was carried out at over 13 motorways and highways during the 4th Quarter, that is, October-December 2022.
Also, an independent QoS survey was carried out in 22 cities of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan during the same quarter. The survey was carried out using Automated QoS Monitoring and Benchmarking Tool ‘SMARTBENCHMARKER’. The test teams selected survey routes in such a manner that main roads, service roads, and a majority of sectors/colonies were covered.
During the survey, mobile handsets for Voice Calls, and SMS were kept in technology auto-detect mode, whereas in the case of Mobile Broadband/ Data Sessions, the mobile handsets were kept both in auto-detect and locked mode. The PTA has issued instructions to the operators to take corrective measures, to ensure improvement in the service quality according to the licensed standards.
The authority has carried out an independent QoS survey in nine cities of Punjab and Sindh during 3rd quarter, i.e., July-September 2022 to measure the performance and quality of CMOs’ services being provided to their customers. To measure the performance and service quality of CMOs, an independent QoS was also carried out on thirteen Motorways and Highways during 3rd Quarter, i.e., July-September 2022.
As per the cellular Mobile Network QoS Regulations, 2021, licensees are required to meet the Webpage Loading Time threshold of five seconds. However, the CMOs failed to comply with this KPI in cities as well as on motorways and highways. The licensees are also required to meet the threshold of 75 milliseconds of 4G/LTE.
Technology and 150 milliseconds of 3G Technology of Latency. However, operators missed this KPI by a wide margin in cities as well as on motorways and highways, with more than 200 milliseconds recorded. During the survey, while conducting data tests in technology auto-detect mode as well as locked mode, 4G/LTE signal strength samples were recorded on survey routes.
As per the Next Generation Mobile Service (NGMS) licenses, licensees are required to meet the threshold of -100 dBm or above of Reference Signal Receive Power (RSRP) with a 90 percent confidence level. However, in most cases on motorways and highways, operators missed this KPI by a wide margin.
Industry sources, however, said that the telecom industry in Pakistan is facing serious challenges, especially after recent floods and the problem of Letters of Credit, which are hampering the implementation of projects and resulting in the degrading of services. The current economic “meltdown” and related liquidity issues have forced telecom companies to opt for cost cuttings and face challenges in upgrading their capacity to meet demands.
The Ministry of Technology and Telecommunication has repeatedly admitted the poor quality of services while saying that the parameters of quality of service are not at par with other regional countries. Around 1.5 million internet connections are added every month, but operators failed to meet the requirements and have not upgraded their capacity.
The PTA recently imposed a penalty of Rs29 million on four CMOs over their failure to meet the quality of service standards laid down in their licenses. The search for quality service is debatably the most important consumer trend as consumers are now demanding higher quality in products and services than ever before.
When the telecom operators failed to provide better quality services, it will affect the customers’ rates. Zong, Telenor, and Ufone continuously disappoint their customers by not providing quality services. If the same trend continues, these telecom operators will surely lose their customer satisfaction, leading to a lower number of customers and revenue growth.