Trai to soon mandate minimum wireless internet speed

Soon consumers will have clarity and assurance on the minimum download speed they would get from their telecom operator, be it 2G or 3G services, as telecom regulator TRAI is gearing up to mandate mobile services companies to ensure details in this regard under quality of service rules.

"The Authority (TRAI) has been receiving a number of complaints from consumers regarding the poor download speed experienced by them. The Authority after examining the issue felt that there is now a need to mandate the 'minimum download speed' for the wireless data services," TRAI said in its latest consultation paper.

At present, there is no binding regulation on telecom operators to deliver wireless service at a particular minimum speed.

"The Authority has been receiving complaints from consumers regarding the vaguely offered tariff plans and poor download speed experienced by them.

"The Authority after examining the issue, to protect the interest of consumers, has felt that there should be clarity on tariff plans offered to the consumers", the paper said.

Consumers are being wooed by telecom companies in advertisements regarding high speed wireless data services and product pack in which they are promised high speed of up to 7.2 megabit per second or 21 megabit per second.

In general, even at 7.1 mbps speed, a mobile or dongle user should be able to download a video file equivalent to full-length movie in around 12-14 minutes.

Telecom operators have reported to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India that minimum download speed delivered on their most high speed 3G service is in the range of 399 kbps (less than minimum broadband speed is 512 kbps) to 2.48 mbps.

The regulator is of the view that the minimum download speed for 3G and CDMA EVDO service should be 1 megabit per second with 95 per cent success rate. For GSM and CDMA 2G the minimum speed should be at 56 kilobit per second and for CDMA high speed data it is 512 kbps.

It has proposed for each tariff plan for data services, the minimum download speed should be mentioned on all sale vouchers, website, advertisement etc.

TRAI has sought public views on its consultation paper by May 5 and counter comments on it by May 12.

There were 4.19 crore wireless broadband subscriber in January using services either through dongle or mobile phones as per data released by TRAI.

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