The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has warned private telecom operators to reduce congestion at the point of interconnection (PoI) of networks. This is one of the critical reasons for call drops and disturbances that customers experience during telephone conversations.
The benchmark notified by the TRAI for congestion levels at the PoI is less than 0.5 per cent. This means out of 200 calls between two operators, only one call should face a congestion problem.
However, the performance of private operators has deteriorated between May and July this year. In July Reliance Communications (including Reliance Telecom operating GSM services) has reported congestion beyond the acceptable 0.5 percent at as many as 204 PoIs followed by Bharti Airtel at 158 and Tata at 81, TRAI said in a statement. Hutch-Essar reported congestion at 24 PoIs, and Idea cellular at 39.
State-owned MTNL, operating only in Delhi and Mumbai, emerges as the most efficient operator having no congestion at any of its PoIs, according to TRAI's analysis for the three months to July. State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has improved its performance on this account by decreasing critical congestion from 517 in PoIs in May to 426 in July.
The report states that there has been an overall drop in the congestion at POIs from 616 in May 2006 to 537 in July 2006. But the regulator is concerned over the increase in congested POIs at the end of private cellular mobile service providers (CMSPs). The POI congestion among private CMSPs increased from 99 in May 2006 to 111 in July 2006.
"There has been an increase in POI Congestion among private CMSPs particularly in Bihar, North East, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. The circles/states badly affected due to POI congestion are Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, North East, Rajasthan and UP-East," the TRAI statement said.
The regulator has cautioned that the degree of congestion between telecom operators had reached alarming levels leading to poor service quality.
The results of data monitoring for June and July 2006 reveals that "in a number of areas, the degree of congestion between the operators is alarming," TRAI said. "In a number of cities, the level of congestion between the networks of different operators is far more than the notified benchmark," it said.