A new campaign has been launched demanding a regulation that guaranteed internet speed on mobile, paid for by customers.
The petition started by website Logical Indian has already been signed by close to 145,000 people.
This comes amidst wide criticism for telecom operators who are being accused of cheating on their customers by not fulfilling their commitment on providing 3G data.
The telecom operators are emboldened by ‘slap on the wrist’ penalty by the watchdog TRAI, which has failed to force these companies to get their acts together.
Not so long ago, TRAI had imposed a fine of Rs.1.5 lakh against a telecom operator for delivering service below set standards. This, according to many, was too little a fine to scare the multi-billion dollars worth telecom giants? Another irony highlighted was that the the TRAI often made its decisions based on Quality of Service reports compiled by the telecom operators themselves and not by an impartial and independent body.
Explaining the reason for launching the campaign, website Logical Indian said, “We have all seen TV ads by telecom companies with claims of super fast internet available on the highest mountains and farflung islands. But the truth is that we don’t get good internet even inside our homes in metro cities. They promise 21Mbps or even 100Mbps, but can barely deliver 2Mbps.
“Our phone signals are horrible and data speeds are worse. India has really poor implementation of 3G Internet, with only a third of the towers being 3G enabled. But instead of fixing them, the telecom companies are busy hard selling us the 4G dream.”
The petitioner goes on to say, “TRAI has fixed the minimum speed for 3G speed at 1Mbps and has asked telecoms to ensure that they don’t fall below this speed for at least 95% of the time. But the reality is that most 3G customers don’t get a stable 3G connection half of the time. According to a recent report by Ericsson, 48% mobile customers found no difference between 2G and 3G speeds. TRAI has also asked all telecoms to clearly communicate the minimum data speed they provide for 2G, 3G, and 4G in all ads and customer materials. This is also not being implemented.”
The campaigners aim to send the signed petitions to Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad with the following demands;
- Conduct independent Service audits of quality across India.
- Increase the penalty for non-compliance by telecom operators on minimum speed and service consistency. Get telecoms to declare a roadmap on upgrading infrastructure to ensure good 3G and 4G network coverage and speed across the country.
- Rationalise the spectrum prices so that telecoms have sufficient resources at hand and are left with no excuse to upgrade the infrastructure.
- The average internet speed in India stood at 2.7Mbps whereas it was 26.8Mbps in the UK, 14Mbps in Spain and 11Mbps in Turkey. Even Indonesia had a higher average speed at 4.4 Mbps. India is one of the slowest mobile connected countries in the Asia Pacific. How can we compete with rest of the world if our internet slows us down?
- Telecom Ministry to ensure proper regulations to guarantee consistent internet speeds and services on mobile devices that the customers are paying for. It is time telecoms are held accountable for the tall claims they make in their advertisements.