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What are the rules for testing telecom networks

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, on Monday, started a consultation process to frame rules for the network testing before full-fledged commercial launch after witnessing the controversy related to Reliance Jio’s free trial run.

“The DoT requested the Authority (TRAI) to provide its recommendations on testing of network before commercial launch of services including enrolment of customers for testing purposes before commercial launch, duration of testing period etc…,” TRAI consultation paper stated.

Incumbent telecom operators had voiced concern that enrolment of subscribers and provision of service free of cost before commercial launch are leading to a non-level playing field. They also said the volume of voice traffic generated by such test users, due to free offers, is choking points of interconnect, and impairing the quality of service of other operators. The last date for seeking comments on the issue is May 29 and for counter comments 12 June.

Telecom service providers (TSPs) are bound by roll-out obligations and other licence conditions, TRAI stated. The TSPs are required to install applicable systems for providing mobile services to the subscribers. It is important that these systems are tested before commencement of commercial services because a licensee has to ensure that its service meets the Quality of Service (QoS) standards prescribed by the Licensor or TRAI. As per the general practice, the Telecom Service Providers use test SIM Cards to check the quality of network, before the commercial launch of services.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), through its letter dated 9 September 2016, communicated that at present, network testing is being carried out by licensees on the basis of erstwhile practices followed by DoT/BSNL and test SIM Cards are issued by such licensees to check the quality of network, before the commercial launch of services. However, the present licenses for various services issued by DoT do not mandate any time period for network testing before commercial launch of services by the licensees. Therefore, DoT requested TRAIto provide its recommendations

on testing of network before commercial launch of services including enrolment of customers for testing purposes before commercial launch, duration of testing period etc. under the terms of clause 11(l)(a) of TRAI Act 1997 as amended.

In view of the above, Consultation Paper on 'Network testing before commercial launch of services' has been released to discuss issues involved, possible solutions and framework to bring clarity on the matter. Written comments on the issues raised in the Consultation, Paper are invited from the stakeholders by 29th May 2017 and counter-comments by 12 June 2017.

Comments and counter-comments may be sent, preferably in electronic form at advmn@trai.gov.in. For any clarification / information Sanjeev Banzal, Advisor (Networks, Spectrum & Licensing), TRAI, may be contacted at Telephone Number +91-11-23210481.

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