3G services to stabilise in 6 months: Experts

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NEW DELHI: The promise of high-
end phone services by mobile
firms through the much-hyped
third generation (3G) telecom
technology seems to have hit a
roadblock as customers complain of frequent call drops and
inconsistent internet speeds. Experts say it could take between
six and nine months for the service to stabilise. Anuj Kumar, a Delhi-based banker, preferred
switching back to the 2G network after he got
exasperated by deficient service and inconsistent
network coverage. "Problems of call drops increased once I switched
to 3G network. The voice quality also became very
poor. I was left with no option but to switch back to
the basic network. In my line of job uninterrupted
calls are a must," Kumar told IANS. Pratibha Srivastava, a sales manager with a leading
private bank, had similar grievance. "The connectivity on the 3G network is very, very
poor, especially when a person is on the move.
While the network disconnects frequently, the voice
quality is also not good at all," said Srivastava. Among the nine-million odd people who are
estimated to have opted for 3G services in the
country, there are many others like Kumar and
Srivastava who are facing similar problems with
their services across the country. The private telecom operators who shelled out
billions for buying spectrum claim that every new
technology needed some time for maturing and
becoming consistent. According to them it was a
matter of time for consumers to experience the
promised quality of 3G. But Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
Chairman J S. Sarma does not agree with the claims
of operators. "It is high time customers start getting quality
services for the money they are paying. You cannot
go on saying that the problems are caused due to
initial phase launch for so long. Such excuses can
be accepted for a week or so," Sarma told IANS. "We also need to look into what kind of
investments these people are making," Sarma said
and added that the telecom watchdog was looking
into the matter and would come out with a quality
check very soon. Mahesh Uppal, a telecom analyst and director of
consultancy ComFirst India, maintains the networks
are having problems because they were moving
customers from 2G to 3G. "Even I am having problems with the 3G network. I
feel that this is because the networks are in a
transition phase. Therefore some hiccups are
probably expected. These companies are moving
into 3G in an incremental way," Uppal told IANS. On the other hand the telecom operators say that
every new technology takes time to find its feet and
so it is with 3G. "You have to realise integrating new technology
with an older one takes time -- 3G is like going
back to square one. Operators almost have to build
an entire network," said Rajan Matthews, director
general of Cellular Operators Association of India
(COAI). "The operators will take almost 6-9 months to
straighten out things." Though the telecom watchdog does not have a
record on the specific number of customers who
have switched from 2G to 3G so far, some telecom
operators have revealed their data individually. While the dominant player Airtel currently has over
two million 3G subscribers, Idea Cellular has one
million across the country. On the whole, there are
811 million mobile phone subscribers in the
country. Jaideep Ghosh, director, KPMG advisory services,
too, agrees with operators. Since the technology
was new to India and companies were still in the
implementation phase, some technical glitches
were bound to come up, he said. "Some operators launched it six months back and
some are still in the process across all the circles. So
it will be too early to a conclude that the services
are good or bad," Ghosh told IANS. "We should
wait till all operators launch full-fledged services." A few operators also blame scarcity of spectrum to
be a hitch for the service providers not being able
to perform efficiently. "The larger problem is not 2G or 3G but spectrum
allocation. If you do not have enough spectrum,
how would you be able to provide better services?"
queried a senior official with a leading telecom
operator. Tata DoCoMo was the first private player to launch
the 3G services in the country -- in November 2010.
Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Idea
Cellular are among the other operators who have
launched their 3G services across the country. Third generation telephony services are supposed
to allow faster connectivity with some new
applications such as Internet TV, video-on-
demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data

Sorce- http://m.timesofindia.com/tech/news/telecom/3G-services-to-stabilise-in-6-months-Experts/articleshow/8648710.cms
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