Trai launches consultation on network testing

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

The Indian Telecoms regulator has launched a consultation on network testing, saying the current system leaves networks at risk of being overloaded at choking points of interconnect

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked stakeholders for their views on a consultation paper looking at rules carriers must follow when testing their networks.

The consultation paper asks stakeholders if there should be any restrictions on how many subscribers teclos can enrol when testing networks; the license terms and conditions; and questions around number portability. 

The consultation has been prompted by the launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm last year, which enrolled a large number of subscribers for tests before it went live commercially in September.

“Till date, the need was not felt to specify various aspects of testing such as definition of test cards, limit of test cards, testing duration, etc.,” Trai said. 

“However, in 2016, a TSP (telecom service provider) carried out testing of its Long-Term Evolution (4G) network on a very large scale and enrolled lakhs of subscribers as test users before commercial launch of its services.”

Jio’s network testing led rivals including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, through the Cellular Operators Association of India, to accuse Jio of offering full commercial services under the guise of testing, allowing it to “potentially game policy features like the interconnection usage charge regime, non-predatory pricing, and fair competition”.

Jio, who had more than a million users enrolled during the testing period, according to the Economic Times of India, denied all wrongdoing.

It is the latest issue for Trai to resolve since Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, decided to launch Jio to compete in the Indian telecoms market.

Jio recently complained to Trai about the pricing of mobile broadband services, accusing rivals of offering customers special tariffs by direct messaging.

Trai has also attempted to impose penalties on Idea Cellular and Vodafone, accusing the operators of failing to provide Jio with stable interconnection.