PTA declines telecom companies’ requests for a waiver of quality-of-service inspections

According to official sources cited by ProPakistani, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has rejected the Cellular Mobile Operators’ (CMOs) call for a ban on quality of services (QoS), claiming that doing so will harm the network, the quality of services, and the user experience.

The Authority made this statement in the context of difficulties that operators experienced while trying to improve KPIs such as lack of equipment refuge in place of network optimization, provision of fuel at sites for power backups, etc.

In order to maximise base prices, CMOs had wanted a moratorium on quality-of-service requirements, roll-out commitments, the Universal Service Fund (USF), a reduction of the R&D fund from two percent to one percent for a year, and a voice and data floor price uplift mechanism.

PTA was requested by the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications to respond to the concerns and produce the necessary legal documentation.

According to additional sources, the Authority stated that, in accordance with Section 4(d) of the Pakistan Telecommunication Re-organization Act, 1996, one of its main duties is to encourage the availability of a variety of high-quality, effective, affordable, and competitive telecommunication services across Pakistan.

As a result, the minimum aim of QoS Standards applicable to Voice and Mobile Broadband are contained in NGMS licences and Cellular Mobile Network Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations 2021 for compliance at all times by mobile operators.

In response, the Authority stated that it has already offered facilitation or relaxation in connection with several of the QoS metrics, including

  • The call setup time has been increased from 6.5 seconds to 7.5 seconds to account for the longer setup time needed in a scenario including a circuit switched fall back (CSFB).
  • Phased improvements are being made to the minimum user data throughput targets, which are being increased from 2Mbps to 4Mbps for 40 users and from 256Kbps to 1Mbps for 30 users: (a) within two years in Pakistan; (b) within three years for 3G and four years for 4G in AJK & GB.
  • Where 4G mobile broadband is offered, 3G mobile broadband is not tested.
    For a period of two years, or until March 31st 2024, the End-to-End Speech Quality/Mean Opinion Score
  • testing mode has been restricted to Narrowband exclusively, in AJK 8 GB.

PTA conducts frequent surveys to make sure that all CMOs uphold a high standard of service. When it comes to NGMS services, cellular providers typically meet QoS standards, but voice KPIs have significant problems. Current licences given to CMOs require them to offer data services with an average throughput of 4 Mbps, and this work must be finished by March 2024.

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