The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released an amendment (pdf), directing all wireless data service providers to indicate the minimum download speed of all its wireless data plans to consumers in all its company communications. This includes vouchers, advertisements, on its website and at its complaint centres & sales outlets.

TRAI also directed all these service providers to ensure that the minimum download speed specified in their respective data plans is made available to consumers for at least 80% of the usage time. This amendment will be applicable from August 23, 2014.

Service providers have to report the minimum download speeds to TRAI along with tariff filing. They will also have to publish minimum download speeds achieved for individual tariff plans on a quarterly basis on their respective websites. TRAI will also publish these details on its website on a quarterly basis.

What is minimum download speed?

TRAI explains that minimum download speed shall be measured as the average of the lower 10% of all test calls. Test call is a method of determining download speeds, in which the data transmission rate for downloading a test file from a test server to a test device is measured.

However, TRAI hasn’t specified any benchmark for minimum download speed, after recommending a minimum 1Mbps for 3G connections and 56Kbps for 2G connections in April this year. TRAI states this was due to objections from service providers who expressed concerns regarding limited availability of spectrum in 2G/3G bands for individual operators low coverage zones like basements, high-rise building clusters and tunnels.

They also mentioned that they have no control over the quality and type of device a subscriber uses, number of subscribers using the data service at any given point in time, peak timing/off-peak timing, transmission bandwidth, external interference, website behaviour and more.

TRAI had initially released these regulations in December 2012, as per which the average throughout for packet data for telcos should be greater than 75% of the subscribed speed and the drop rate should be equal to or less than 5%. More on that here.

Also read: Not Enough: TRAI Looks At Fines For Not Meeting Broadband Quality Of Service