Better 3G services: the wait could be longer
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Better 3G services: the wait could be longer

Monday, 30 May 2011, 02:48 Hrs   |    4 Comments
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New Delhi: The promise of high-end phone services by mobile firms through the much-hyped third generation (3G) telecom technology seems to have hit a roadblock as customers complain of frequent call drops and inconsistent internet speeds.

Experts say it could take between six and nine months for the service to stabilize.

Anuj Kumar, a Delhi-based banker, preferred switching back to the 2G network after he got exasperated by deficient service and inconsistent network coverage.

"Problems of call drops increased once I switched to 3G network. The voice quality also became very poor. I was left with no option but to switch back to the basic network. In my line of job uninterrupted calls are a must," Kumar said.

Pratibha Srivastava, a sales manager with a leading private bank, had similar grievance.

"The connectivity on the 3G network is very, very poor, especially when a person is on the move. While the network disconnects frequently, the voice quality is also not good at all," said Srivastava.

Among the nine-million odd people who are estimated to have opted for 3G services in the country, there are many others like Kumar and Srivastava who are facing similar problems with their services across the country.

The private telecom operators who shelled out billions for buying spectrum claim that every new technology needed some time for maturing and becoming consistent. According to them it was a matter of time for consumers to experience the promised quality of 3G.

But Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman J.S. Sarma does not agree with the claims of operators.

"It is high time customers start getting quality services for the money they are paying. You cannot go on saying that the problems are caused due to initial phase launch for so long. Such excuses can be accepted for a week or so," Sarma said.

"We also need to look into what kind of investments these people are making," Sarma said and added that the telecom watchdog was looking into the matter and would come out with a quality check very soon.

Mahesh Uppal, a telecom analyst and director of consultancy ComFirst India, maintains the networks are having problems because they were moving customers from 2G to 3G.

"Even I am having problems with the 3G network. I feel that this is because the networks are in a transition phase. Therefore some hiccups are probably expected. These companies are moving into 3G in an incremental way," Uppal said.

On the other hand the telecom operators say that every new technology takes time to find its feet and so it is with 3G.

"You have to realise integrating new technology with an older one takes time" 3G is like going back to square one. Operators almost have to build an entire network," said Rajan Matthews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

"The operators will take almost 6-9 months to straighten out things."

Though the telecom watchdog does not have a record on the specific number of customers who have switched from 2G to 3G so far, some telecom operators have revealed their data individually.

While the dominant player Airtel currently has over two million 3G subscribers, Idea Cellular has one million across the country. On the whole, there are 811 million mobile phone subscribers in the country.

Jaideep Ghosh, director, KPMG advisory services, too, agrees with operators. Since the technology was new to India and companies were still in the implementation phase, some technical glitches were bound to come up, he said.

"Some operators launched it six months back and some are still in the process across all the circles. So it will be too early to a conclude that the services are good or bad," Ghosh said. "We should wait till all operators launch full-fledged services."

A few operators also blame scarcity of spectrum to be a hitch for the service providers not being able to perform efficiently.

"The larger problem is not 2G or 3G but spectrum allocation. If you do not have enough spectrum, how would you be able to provide better services?" queried a senior official with a leading telecom operator.

Tata DoCoMo was the first private player to launch the 3G services in the country in November 2010. Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular are among the other operators who have launched their 3G services across the country.

Third generation telephony services are supposed to allow faster connectivity with some new applications such as Internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange.
Source: IANS
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Reader's comments(4)
1: When the whole world is moving towards 4G, our Indian telecom operators are giving non-sense news "It's bcoz of transformation from 2G to 3G, to give full-fledged services blah blah". Is this the reasons why we need to pay to access 3G services. Telecom operators don't you feel shame by giving these kind of reasons. How many days does it take to stabilize 6months or 1yr, don't worry by the time 3g gets stabilized, the world will start moving to 4G. Customers be careful with these operators, if they don't provide good services it's better to switch back to 2G, let operators suffer the investment they have made then they will come to know, it's bcoz of no quality services customers are not opting for 3G.

TRAI and DOT, request you to kindly throw heavy penalities on these private telecom operators like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel blah blah.. bcoz of no quality services provided to customers

Telecom operators, if you think the spectrum allocated is not sufficient escalate these issues to the concerned ministry then things may stabilize, but don't give the non-sense answers to customers.
Posted by:rock - 29 May, 2011
Today the braodband charges in India are among the world's highest e.g. one large service provider charges Rs. 850 p.m.for a 4GB limited download. This is about $20 and in USA, companies charge this much for a high-speed, unlimited internet access. Unless TRAI sets service specs and reasonable charges, there is no salvation from the service providers.
Srinivasan Replied to: rock - 30 May, 2011
Hey don't be sooo critic. The low charges for broadband overseas is just bcoz there , users of bb are more, so the cost is recovered
Vishal Replied to: Srinivasan - 02 Jun, 2011
you are right as the most of countries are entering in 4G services why should we pay for the bad quality of 3G?
nitin Replied to: rock - 30 May, 2011