Landline service not up to desired standards: TRAI

CHENNAI, APRIL 24. A recent survey has found Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited's landline phones in the city lagging behind the customer service levels prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

It also reports that 89 per cent of the respondent-subscribers of Chennai Telephones - the BSNL entity in the city - however, are either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the overall (subjective) quality of its service.

Results of the survey, commissioned by the telecom regulator, for the quarter ending December 2003 says that Chennai BSNL is able to provide new connections within seven days to only 64 per cent of the applicants, against the prescribed norm of 100 per cent. Likewise, the number of faults per 100 subscribers per month of the service provider is six, whereas the benchmark is less than three.

The survey by IMRB International is to measure the performance level of various basic and cellular telecom service providers in the country between October 2003 and September 2004 and come with four quarterly reports and an annual report.

Apart from Chennai BSNL, which has a landline phone subscriber base of slightly over a million, other basic service providers figuring in the survey in the Metro (telecom) circles are Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited in Mumbai and Delhi, Kolkata BSNL and Touchtel in Delhi.

By contrast, cellular operators are "providing much better quality of services." Stating this, the TRAI said the fierce competition in the field makes them to constantly "keep improving." Yet, there was scope for improvement in terms of the billing complaints and call success rate.

BSNL, which also provides cellular phone connections in the city, has achieved 90 per cent in the overall service. Both Bharti and RPG, which has since been taken over by Aircel, have got 93 per cent, while it is 91 per cent for Hutch. Barring Hutch, the other three operators meet the TRAI norm of clearing all the faults within 24-hours. The call drop rate of all the operators is less than the parameter of three per cent, with RPG recording the highest of 1.30 per cent.

Bharti tops the list of companies in terms (in percentage) of connections with good voice quality of 95.42 per cent. The TRAI benchmark is over 95 per cent. While it is 95.03 for RPG, 95.02 per cent of connections provided by BSNL are of good voice quality. The figure is 94.32 per cent for Hutch.

With regard to billing complaints - TRAI says it should be less than 0.1 per cent per 100 bills issued - Bharti has the least at 0.13 per cent, RPG 0.93 per cent, BSNL 1.03 per cent and Hutch 3.31 per cent. According to statistics released by the Cellular Operators Association of India, the mobile phone subscriber in the city was 9.85 lakhs in March.

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