The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has issued some major regulatory measures in 2019, which defined the face of the telecom industry. However, on the last day of the year, the telecom regulator issued another major release in which it defined the draft regulations for “Network testing before Commercial launch of services for Wireline Access Services”. It is worth noting that there had been a consultation paper on the same regarding the testing of services prior to the launch. These regulations place some stringent regulations on how the testing of the services will be conducted, what will be the mandates for the same and what will be the norms that the telecom operators will have to adhere to. On December 31, Trai finally released the draft regulations on this matter.
Operators to Follow Quality of Service Norms
In its release, firstly Trai has mandated that the licensees, will be bound by the rollout obligations and other license conditions to provide these access services. It will be imperative that the licensees ensure that they test all applicable systems before the rollout of their commercial services. The origin of this new rule lies in the Quality of Service (QoS) norms which Trai has made very stringent in the last few years. These QoS norms put stringent measures on telecom companies regarding issues like call drops. In case of any breach, the telecom companies have to pay a hefty fine. The new draft regulations related to the testing before the rollout of the network will ensure that the QoS norms are followed early on in the industry.
Operators Still Sticking to Erstwhile Testing Techniques
There also comes the question as to why Trai needed to define these rules in the first place. To answer this, it is worth taking a look at the second point which Trai has highlighted which mentions that the telecom operators were using the practices from BSNL and DoT (Department of Telecommunications) which had been the same since many years. These telecom operators were also issuing test SIM cards to the subscribers to carry out their network testing. However, somehow these testing situations were obsolete and also there was no testing time period specified. “Therefore, DoT requested the Authority to provide its recommendations on testing of the network before commercial launch of services including enrolment of customers for testing purposes before commercial launch, duration of testing period etc. After a due consultation process, TRAI has issued its recommendations on 04.12.2017.”
It was back in October 2018 that DoT finalised the testing norms for network operators based on the previous Trai recommendations. As per the Trai notification, the DoT had written a letter to Trai on July 16, 2019, and “communicated to TRAI that the Government has accepted the TRAI’s recommendations on “Network Testing before Commercial Launch of Services” and it has been decided that Trai may be requested to give similar recommendations for Wireline Access Services. DoT has requested that recommendations on Network testing before commercial launch of wireline Access Services may be provided as per clause l 1(l)(a) of Trai Act 1997 as amended by Trai amendment Act 2000.”
Trai Floats New Consultation Paper
Trai also brought it to notice that all the norms that have been put forth for mobile network testing are also applicable for the wireline services access as well. However, as per the reference received from DoT, the new consultation paper on draft recommendations is issued to solicit the views of the stakeholders for specifying the norms of Network Testing before commercial launch of services for wireline access services. The consultation paper is live on Trai’s official website, and the comments are invited on the paper till January 30, 2020.