The Indian telecom regulator, Trai, has said that Carriers like Idea cellular, Vodafone and Aircel are incorrectly using the RLT technology or call drop masking technology in the Mumbai circle. It added that the issue needs to be addressed immediately. "Most of the operators have focused on network improvement," the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in its Mumbai drive test report.
The regulator, during the Mumbai drive test, has found RLT level of 40 units being used by most of the telecom operators. Some companies have been using it beyond their peers in the city, it said, adding that such use will delay a dropped call by not providing any audio to the consumer and forcing him to disconnect, while charging him for time the call was inaudible.
“The reduction in CDR (call data record) is not an accurate reflection of improved customer experience," Trai said.
The regulator said that the country’s second largest telecom operator, Vodafone India, was found using higher RLT value in 97 percent of cell sites, Idea Cellular 80 percent and Aircel around 64 percent of cell sites. Notably, Vodafone was also found using higher RLT value Delhi and Hyderabad, while Aircel was found using higher RLT in Delhi and Chandigarh cities.
Trai said that Tata Teleservices was also found using higher RLT value in 23 percent of cell sites in Mumbai.
The regulator also added that most of the operators are not meeting the Call Drop Rate benchmark of less than or equal to 2 per cent except Airtel 2G & 3G and Vodafone 2G. It added that MTNL 2G & 3G and Tata CDMA performed very poor in Mumbai drive test.
Trai said that Aircel 2G, Reliance 2G, Tata 2G and Vodafone 3G will need to focus on their Call Drop Rate reduction.
“Idea 2G, all CDMA operators and specially MTNL 2G & 3G need to improve across all parameters, in order to offer acceptable levels of service," the regulator said.
Various media reports have stated that Indian telecom operators are using RLT to mask call drops, following the pressure from the IT and Communications Ministry and the Telecom Minister himself.
The call masking technology enables a call to remain connected even if a consumer moves to poor network coverage area for which he is billed.