Tougher parameters to improve mobile services

Concerned with the deterioration in mobile service quality since the latter half of 2015, Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) initiated a survey on the Quality of Service Experienced (QoSE) in eight Dzongkhags with the highest mobile users to understand individual user experiences while accessing mobile services. The regulatory authority has also signed a performance agreement on 30 March this year with the Bmobile and TashiCell whereby BICMA requires the two mobile service providers to submit peak hour data for the months of April, May and June to assess whether they are maintaining optimal service quality as required. The peak hours have been identified as 8-9 am and 9-10 pm.

Call and data drops (failure to make calls or connect to internet or disconnection during active sessions) have been identified as the main problem instigating the recent public dissatisfaction which in turn is caused by an increasing number of subscribers especially in urban areas like Thimphu, Phuentsholing and Gelephu. The acceptable rate of drops is set at 2 percent which means not more than two users in a 100 should experience call problems or disconnections. With 31 and 19 towers belonging to Bmobile and TashiCell respectively, network coverage has been found satisfactory for both companies.

“The survey has been completed and the data is being studied. Results from the two will be used to validate each other and based on that we will consider the need for more stringent parameters so that optimal quality is maintained,” said BICMA’s Chief Communications Officer Wangay Dorji. The results will be declared by the end of August.

The two service providers were also instructed by BICMA to initiate sharing towers and currently seven towers are shared by the two.

Bmobile has installed 387 3G offload wi-fi access points around Thimphu and aim to increase that number to 1000 across the country.

Tashi Cell Managing Director Tashi Tshering said that besides the routine complaints there have been no major complaints about the company’s service qualities but that the company is nevertheless continuously improving services.

“The infrastructure in Thimphu has been upgraded to the maximum,” said Tashi Tshering, “and the main challenges now are acquiring tower sites and the protracted process of immigration for technical experts which take up to eight months.”

Tshetrim Namgay & Tshering Delma/ Thimphu

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