Subscribers of Vodafone Idea Limited in multiple circles have reported that they are facing network issues. The telecom operator is facing these hurdles as it is working on its network integration which will pave the way for Rs 14,000 crore synergy benefits which the telco seeks to leverage in the coming years, ET Telecom reported. In these regards, there have been multiple reports about service quality issues with Vodafone Idea network. However, the telecom leader has claimed that it is strictly abiding by the Quality of Service (QoS) norms set by the regulator. The telco which boasts of having 421 million subscribers has even set up war rooms to track network performance and minimise customer inconvenience.
Industry Experts Credit QoS Disruption to Network Integration
An official spokesperson of Vodafone Idea said that the disagreement over the dented quality of service is because network integration “appears presumptuous and perceptual”. He further added that the company’s drop call rate (DCR) has gone up by 15% at a national level along with its call set up success rate (CSSR) which has gone up by 0.5% in the past six months.
Going by the words of the industry executive, however, there is definitely an increase in the service disruption including call drops for the market leader in 15 circles where Ericsson and Nokia are onto the task of shifting many base stations where the telecom operator has made a significant change in the structure of its vendor distribution thus changing which vendor supplies what gear.
As per the report by ET, an industry executive with direct knowledge of the matter said that Ericsson, which is one of the vendors for Vodafone Idea has to shift its base stations from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, UP-West and Punjab circles, where it has ceased to be Vodafone Idea’s vendor, and now it will move its base stations to other circles. Similarly, Nokia, which is another vendor for VIL will pull up its base stations from Chennai metro, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, MP, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Northeast, Himachal Pradesh and J&K and will shift them to other circles where it is now the vendor for the telecom operator.
Chinese Vendors ZTE and Huawei Dominate Equipment Supply Market
Previously, China-based Huawei was the vendor for VIL in circles of Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Orissa where it used to complete 33% gear requirement of the telecom operator alongwith 50% in Chennai circle. Now, in these circles, the vendor will fulfil 100% of the equipment required by the telco. Recently, Vodafone Idea revised its vendor contracts where Chinese Huawei and ZTE bagged major contracts as opposed to European companies like Nokia and Ericsson.
Rohan Dhamija, partner & head of India & Middle East at Analysys Mason said, “Given that Nokia and Ericsson were jointly the dominant network vendors to the erstwhile Vodafone India and Idea, the merged entity could have easily leveraged this readymade synergy to minimise network disruption and any adverse impact on customer experience during integration.”
In the period between September and November 2018, Vodafone Idea has already lost 20.5 million subscribers, also because of the introduction of the minimum recharge plans. Rohan Dhamija also said that the losing subscriber count “lends credence to drawing a potential correlation between recent juggling in network vendor contracts and heavy customer churn.”
The telco, however, maintains its stance and has added that the shifting and movement of network equipment is a routine activity which is only for upgradation. The operator has also said that it has put precautionary measures in place to ensure that customers are not inconvenienced during the transition. The telco also did not forget to add that the network integration of the two telcos is only for the better of the company in the long term.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.