The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a new consultation paper which aims at framing rules and regulations to ensure transparency and customer awareness regarding data speeds under wireless broadband plans. The paper comes at a time when increasing number of consumer complaints regarding slow data speeds by various telecom operators.
The regulator, through its consultation, wants to know whether telecom operators can specify an average data speed. It also wants to know whether tariff plans’ framework requires changes to encourage more transparency and comparison between different plans.
The regulator also wants to know about the products or technologies that can be used to measure actual end-user experience on mobile broadband networks and whether they should be measured on the node or device levels. It has sought comments from stakeholders by June 29 and counter-comments by July 13.
Notably, the industry very recently saw a bitter fight between Reliance Jio and Airtel over the latter’s speedtest claims, which termed the Sunil Mittal-led telco as India’s fastest 4G telco.
Indian telecom operators don’t guarantee any fixed speed with any of the connection bet it 2G, 3G or 4G. Telcos rather use terms like up to which is generally misleading for consumers. “Through the present consultation paper, the authority intends to seek the inputs of stakeholders on ensuring transparency and customer awareness regarding data speeds under wireless broadband plans,” the telecom regulator said in a statement.
“The surge in the number of broadband connections in the country has been accompanied by increasing reports of consumer dissatisfaction with the speed of data being provided to them under the wireless broadband plan,” the Trai said, adding that consumer empowerment and protection is a critical element of a well-functioning telecom market.
“The widespread adoption of wireless broadband services in the last few quarters makes it particularly important to take into account the problems that may be faced by the users of these services, particularly in relation to data speeds,” it added.
The paper said, ideally, consumers who are dissatisfied with the services or prices offered by their operator should be able to easily switch to another provider, creating incentives for providers to innovate and offer competitive prices and quality of services.