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Telecom watchdog ticks off cell titans

New Delhi, March 5: Cellphone services in the country are not up to scratch.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has found deficiencies in the quality of service provided by all cellular operators, including the top outfits like AirTel, Idea, BPL and Reliance.

The consumer study prepared by the telecom regulator, which measured operators’ performance on the parameters of reliability, network performance and availability, said that none of the players in the one-crore strong cellular Indian market met the prescribed quality of service (QoS) standards.

The report also said customer satisfaction levels are the same in the case of basic services where the state-run giants Mahanagar Telecom Nigam and Bharat Sanchar Nigam dominate. Overall, service quality levels provided by basic service providers were rated “poor”.

However, state-run BSNL’s basic service in the state of Andhra Pradesh was ‘good’ and topped the rankings, while services of the West Bengal zone was ‘poor’ and ranked last.

The Trai survey, which covered the October 2001-June 2002 period, also said that customers’ satisfaction level was much higher in case of cellular services compared to the basic services.

“Virtually, every cellular service provider crossed or came close to the 90-per-cent mark in terms of ‘customers scores on satisfaction with service provision’,” the report said.

“But, none of the basic service providers in any circle could score the 90 per cent ‘satisfaction mark’ except subscribers of HFCL customers in Punjab and Shyam Telelink in Rajasthan,” it added.

The survey also highlighted that no operator met the important benchmark parameters of ’providing new landline connections on demand’.

The Trai survey noted that when it came to customer scores on satisfaction with “overall service”, Airtel in Karnataka and RPG in Madhya Pradesh led the race, while Reliance in Orissa was ranked last.

The report also said basic services providers in the metros, circle B and C, continue to provide low-quality services against circle A operators. While, the customer satisfaction in B and C stood at a lesser score of 77-79 per cent, customer satisfaction stood at 89 per cent in circle A.

“If the operators fail to improve services, then strict action will be taken which could encompass a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or compensation for customers,” the regulatory body said.

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