Nepal | June 25, 2019

‘Voice, data services of telcos not up to standard’

Sujan Dhungana

Kathmandu, November 14

Voice and data services provided by domestic telecom companies are not up to the standard of the telecom sector regulator, as network problems have hit call success rate and data download speed.

The call setup success rate of domestic telecom companies, a key indicator to evaluate network performance of telecom service providers, is below the standard, according to the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA).

The NTA has said the call setup success rate should be 99 per cent or above. This means at least 99 out of every 100 calls made by users must be connected in the first attempt. But none of the country’s three major telecom service providers – Nepal Telecom (NT), Ncell and Smart Telecom – has been able to meet this standard, shows a study conducted by the NTA inside the Ring Road of the Kathmandu Valley.

The NTA report shows that call setup success rate of NT is 98.26 per cent, followed by Ncell’s at 97.77 per cent. The call setup success rate of Smart Telecom stands at 92.39 per cent. These three telecom firms command 98 per cent share in the country’s telephone service market.

This implies the network of telecom companies is imperfect or overloaded or lacks radio coverage.

This problem in the network has also taken a toll on the actual call connection time of telecom service providers. The NTA has said the actual call connection time should be five seconds or less, meaning users must listen to a dial or busy tone within five seconds or less of dialling a number.

The actual call connection time of Smart Telecom is the worst at 13.71 seconds. NT’s actual call connection time stands at 11.48 seconds, while that of Ncell has been found at 8.48 seconds.

These problems in the network of telecom companies are not only affecting voice service, but data service as well, hitting download speeds. It takes 20.09 seconds on average for a webpage to load on Smart Telecom’s network, NTA study shows. NT is a better performer in this race with average webpage load time standing at 16.89 seconds. It takes 7.36 seconds on average for a webpage to load on Ncell’s network.

While Smart Telecom’s network lags behind in web page load time, it has beaten other service providers in file download success rate. The telecom company’s file download success rate stands at 100 per cent, according to the NTA, followed by Ncell (97.62 per cent) and NT (83.33 per cent). Smart Telecom also tops the league table of file upload success rate. The file upload success rate on Smart network stands at (98.39 per cent), followed by Ncell (97.56 per cent) and NT (39.13 per cent).

“The quality of voice and data services provided by telecom firms is not satisfactory,” NTA Spokesperson Min Prasad Aryal said. “Based on these findings, we will give certain time to telecom companies to improve the quality of their services. If they fail to do so, we will take necessary action.”

Amidst these dim results, the only indicator where the performance is sound is call drop rate. The call drop rate of telecom companies, according to the NTA, must be less than two per cent. This means less than 2 out of every 100 calls made through a network should be disconnected before users hang up themselves. Telecom companies have met this standard, NTA study shows.


A version of this article appears in print on November 15, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.


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