The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released draft regulations on quality standards for mobile data services and has solicited comments from all stake-holders on the issue. The authority said that it is necessary to benchmark and monitor the quality of service offered by the service providers of mobile data services, with various options open to the implementing agencies so that the interests of consumers are protected.

We feel that it’s a welcome move at a time when data services are increasingly becoming an integral part of the mobile service experience, specially when a large number of Indians connect to the internet via their mobile phones.

Here are some of the highlights of the TRAI’s recommendations:

Service activation: The TRAI has recommended that operators should activate mobile internet within 3 hours of the customer requesting for it, with a 95% success rate.

Successful download/upload attempts: It has benchmarked successful download attempts at more than 90% and upload attempts at more than 85%.

– The TRAI has also asked service providers to measure and report the minimum download speed to the authority.

Average throughput: The average throughput for packet data should be more than 90% of the subscribed speed.

– The percentage of Node B/BTS (3G base station) carrying less than 80% of the average throughput in a license service area should be less than 10%.

Latency rates: The TRAI has also recommended latency rates for audio at les than 150ms (milliseconds), video at less than 100ms, data at less than 250 ms, and Interactive data at less than 75ms.

PDP context Activation: It has also prescribed the PDP (packet data protocol) context activation success rate at equal to or more than 95%, and drop rate at equal to or less than 2%. The PDP context is the data structure that contains information about a user’s active data session.

The TRAI has proposed that every service provider shall maintain documented process of collection of data for each Quality of Service parameter and submit to the Authority, within sixty days of notification of these regulations, the documented process of collection of data of each parameter indicating the correlation with the primary data which are derived from system counters or codes in Operation and Maintenance Centre or Network Management System or Mobile Switching Centre or telephone exchange, along with record keeping procedure. It has also said that Providers will need to submit compliance reports, and inform the public about the parameters via its website or through newspaper ads.

The TRAI has also said that the parameters defined by it would serve as benchmarks wherever ‘higher quality of service’ is stipulated as a condition for a license.