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Who is the best telco in India? TRAI results speak out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

/ by Srikanth Eswaran

Today I happened to see a report on mobile providers and their service efficiency standards as provided by each individual mobile provider to TRAI. It would be interesting to note the trends on how these mobile providers are doing, and gauge for yourself who you need to be associated with. First lets look below for what info was shared:

All the information is for a month in terms of percentages. So lets see who fares how ?

  • Downtime: refers to how often network was not available for making calls. Needless to assume BSNL was down 1% of the time (the highest) showing how bad their network setup and problem resolution is. Airtel comes in second as no surprise. 0.49% of the time, their network is down for whatever reason which is bad. While others are all in an average respectable band of 0.1 to 0.2%, the best is Tata CDMA network which is at an all time best of 0.03% (while their GSM suffered at 0.2%)
  • Accessibility: refers to how often you were able to make calls within the network. BSNL and Airtel are two notches below 100%, while Uninor for all practically tops the chart. I have my own doubts on Aircel whether they meet 99% at all, since they do have access issues (not dropped calls) even when their signal is strong.
  • Drop rate of calls: refers to how often your calls were dropped. Airtel and BSNL shamelessly lead the pack aligning with reality. Uninor trails the pack showing a respectable maintainability in connection. I can vouch for uninor in this aspect since I had a long call for 1.5 hours without a hitch using uninor. No surprises here at all !
  • calls with good voice quality: is self explanatory, though what is needed to be stressed on here is that just maintaining call continuity does not mean its a good call. The voice has to be crystal clear. Again here only Reliance and Uninor make it to the top here with over 99%. Again I can vouch that Uninor has one of the best call qualities ever in GSM space. The most pathetic of them remains to be BSNL and Airtel which is very disrespectful for a provider of long experience levels in the country.
  • Complaint resolution: though last, this is definitely not the least point to be noted. Whatever be the quality of connection, service matters a lot to customers if they have to remain with the network. Barring Tata CDMA, everyone else seems eager to keep their customers showing 100% adherence to complaints. So there is an even playing ground here.

So who is the winner? From all these statistics? well this could be very very subjective. But before I come to that, let me add my own points worth noting.

  • Aircel has one of the worst impressions it creates for customers. I had dropped calls, unreachable networks on day one of buying a connection. This is like serving raw chicken in a star hotel, which is totally unacceptable.
  • BSNL has got one of the worst 3G implementations in the country. This is again not surprising at all since they have never known to get their act right the first time they do things. As with broadband, they have also goofed up with 3G. With pathetic networks, and below par customer service, it is only natural they are where they are.
  • Airtel has got one of the best EDGE implementations. Any web page that I have tried loading using an Apple iPhone, has given me data almost instantaneously while other providers give data as bursts which means that I must wait for data to be loaded. With Airtel its a great experience using data based services. Especially once they launch 3G.
  • Uninor has one of the best call quality among all operators. When you talk with a person either within or outside your network, its as good as having a conversation with the person standing beside you. Such is the call quality and I hope Uninor keeps this strong point and works on their EDGE a bit to reach to the top as a desired provider. Its unfortunate that they did not win the bid for 3G spectrum and improving their EDGE makes it all the more important for Uninor to be competitive in some way.
  • Tata Docomo has one of the best customizations possible on their plans. No other operator provides such unique customizations and Tata indeed is the leader of the pack for their uniqueness in their offerings. With the recent 3G license grant things for TATA are only bound to get better if they buck up their customer service to the next level.
  • Vodafone is in a niche of their own, but their network problems is going to pull them down from their leadership vantage point sooner than later if they do not work on it soon. There is no use if they have the best customer service happy to help when their basic services aren’t alright.

Of all the providers we have today, there are a couple of players who look extremely promising for the next decade of operations, and these are the natural winners of the game if they play it properly.

Welcome the winners, Uninor and Tata Docomo!

     

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