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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday issued recommendations on "Network Testing before Commercial Launch of Services".
"A TSP (Telecom Service Providers) has to ensure that its service meets the Quality of Service (QoS) standards prescribed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and TRAI. Therefore, it is important that all applicable systems are tested before commencement of commercial service," TRAI said in a statement.
As per TRAI's recommendations, TSPs should be allowed to enrol "test subscribers" during the period of network testing.
"The number of test subscribers that can be enrolled by a TSP in an LSA (licenced service area) should be limited to 5 per cent of its installed network capacity for that LSA. The service provider will submit the detailed capacity calculations of the network to DoT and TRAI atleast 15 days before commencing enrolment of test subscribers," the statement said.
"There should be a limit of 90 days on the test phase involving test subscribers. However, if the TSP fails to conclude network testing due to valid reasons, it may make a representation to the licensor, seeking additional time for network testing giving detailed justification, which may be decided by the licensor on case to case basis."
TRAI'S recommendations were welcomed by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
"COAI is gratified that TRAI has finally come out with its recommendations on testing, which are generally in line with our submissions," said Rajan S. Mathews, Director General of COAI.
"We believe the 5 per cent of network capacity for deciding quantum of testing customers, is on the higher side and can be better achieved through standard testing procedures for networks."
According to Mathews, "customers put on" during the test period are better served if they are provided with test SIMs as is usually the case, and then converted to regular SIMs when testing is completed.
"While, the testing recommendations are useful, they may have come too late as it is not envisioned that there will be any new operators entering the Indian market in the near future," Mathews said.