Data network performance of both telcos below satisfactory: BICMA

Report: In a study conducted by the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) over a period of five months (April to August) last year, the over-all performance of the voice network of both the telcos was found to be better than that of their data network.

However, the quality of service of the voice network was found to be less than the acceptable threshold.

According to the report, the data network performance of both the telcos was found to be erratic. When compared between the two telcos, TashiCell showed improvement with its data network performance. Although the telco’s data network performance declined in the month of May and June, the performance improved significantly in July and August.

Bhutan Telecom, on the other hand, continued to have problems with its data network performance. No significant improvement was observed in the performance rather it was deteriorating, states the report.

According to the report, B-Mobile’s voice call drop rate (CDR) was recorded at 23.95 percent, the maximum during the survey period, in the month of May for the residents of Olakha. The CDR dropped to 0.82 percent in June and again rose to 4.45 in July.

The CDR is defined as the ratio of abnormal disconnection of calls to the total calls established. The performance of a telco to call drop is assessed through this parameter. The threshold set for CDR is at 2 percent, meaning anything above 2 percent (>2 percent) will be considered as a worse affected Base Transceiver Stations (BTS).

Changbangdue also experienced a significant level of call drops with 10.85 percent in the month of May.

B-Mobile’s data CDR in the five months didn’t show any improvements. On an average, data CDR was above the minimum threshold with no signs of improvements. In fact, it was recorded that in areas such as Dechencholing, Taba, Motithang, Olakha, Simtokha and Babesa, the data CDR deteriorated.

Meanwhile, the overall performance of the voice network performance of TashiCell was found to be satisfactory in most of the locations according to the report.

TashiCell users in Chubachu experienced a slightly higher voice CDR at 3.19 percent in the month of July and 2.42 in August. The voice CDR in Olakha was also recorded slightly higher than the threshold at 2.49 percent in May.

The overall performance of TashiCell’s data CDR slowly improved compared to the months of May and June according to the report. The operator suffered a major data network failure towards the mid of May and June.

In most of the areas under Thimphu Thromde, the data CDR in the month of May and June ranges from 4.3 to 11.49 percent. However data CDR improved significantly from July onwards, except in Changzamtok where the average call drop was recorded at 5.52 percent.

BICMA, after noticing the deteriorating quality of mobile cellular services towards the second half of 2015 initiated a survey on the quality of service experienced in eight dzongkhags and thromdes.

Further to validate the findings of the survey and to understand the mobile network performance of the two telcos, BICMA began to collect the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of the individual Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) under Thimphu Thromde.

The data on call drops for both voice and data were collected to understand and find out the performance status during the peak hours (8-9am and 6-10pm)

BICMA recommended that with the limitations to the study, it was difficult to clearly demonstrate the improvements in the network performance of the two telcos. However, the raw data collected from B-Mobile and TashiCell indicate that the performance of the voice networks of both the service providers is much better than that of the data network performance.

The authority also recommended that it would continue with the study for a few more months and make comparisons with the previous data. BICMA also suggested improving the competency of the professionals to carry out such studies.

Also with the sharing of the findings that was concluded in August last year through media outlets, BICMA assumes that the telcos will work towards decongesting and improving their network performances.

Today, there are approximately 424,000 B-Mobile and 205,000 TashiCell subscribers in the country.

Younten Tshedup 

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