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Government Notifies 2021 Quality of Service Regulations for Mobile Networks

The government has notified “cellular mobile network quality of service (QoS) regulations 2021” which will apply to all cellular mobile communication service and Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) licensees for the purposes of identifying the minimum quality of service standards and associated measurement, reporting and record-keeping of mobile network coverage, voice, SMS and mobile broadband service.

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With growing concerns on the quality of service parameters, including call drop, call quality, and data throughput, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had decided to amend the cellular mobile network QoS regulations.

QoS refers to the ability of a network or service to satisfy the end-user and is primarily linked with the aspects of services that are directly experienced by the consumers. The compliance reports are required to be submitted in respect of the quality of service parameters defined in these regulations.

Every mobile communications service and Next Generation Mobile Service licensee shall at all times meet or exceed the minimum requirements of quality of service specified in their respective licenses and in these regulations.

Network Accessibility –the probability that mobile services are available to an end customer by the display of the network indicator on the mobile test equipment throughout the entire duration of the samples. Network Accessibility should be ≥ 99 percent.

Percentage of time mobile device is reporting “no service” or “emergency” as served technology during the drive test duration]. “No service” or “emergency” is the period mobile services are neither available to an end customer nor display of the network indicator on the mobile equipment.

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Network downtime — the probability that mobile services are not available to end customers. Network downtime should be ≤ 1 percent.  Network Downtime shall be measured from the network management system (NMS) of the operator as an average of one month, either across all the outdoor sites deployed by the operator in the surveyed area and as well any other area, i.e., district, tehsil, etc., provided by the Authority.

Call Setup Success Rate –“The probability that the end customer successfully access the mobile service when requested if it is offered by the display of the network indicator on the mobile equipment”. Call Setup Success Rate should be ≥ 98 percent.

Call setup time– The time between sending of complete call initiation information by the caller (A-party) and in return receipt of call setup notification”. Call Setup Time should’ be < 7.5 seconds (including Circuit Switched Fall Back (CSFB) time).

Call completion ratio—the probability that a service, once obtained, will continue to be provided under given conditions for a given time duration or until deliberately terminated by either A-party or B-party. The call completion ratio should be > 98 percent.

Call drop rate –the probability that a service, once obtained, will neither continue for a given time duration nor be deliberately terminated by either A-party or B-party. Call drop rate < 2 percent.

End-to-End Speech Quality—the degree of speech quality that a listener perceives at the terminal with a talker at the other end. The mean opinion score should be  >3.

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End-to-end service quality (mean opinion score) is represented by the average value of ITU-T P.863 ‘Perceptual objective listening quality analysis’ (POLQA) predicted MOS of all speech samples in successfully established calls. Measurement will be based on the latest version of ITU- P.863 to achieve the correct relative service quality between VoLTE, HD-Voice, and legacy narrowband telephony.

SMS Success Rate–“Probability that the short message service is delivered successfully, end-to-end when requested and display of the relevant information on the mobile equipment”. The SMS success rate should be ≥ 99 percent.

End-to-End SMS delivery time — The time between sending a short message from a mobile terminal (A-Party) and receiving the very same short message at the intended mobile terminal (B-Party). End-to-End SMS delivery time should be ≤12 seconds.

With the increase of the subscriber base, customer dissatisfaction is increasing, and complaints against the network are also increasing. Growing concerns on various QoS parameters, especially call drop, call quality, and data throughput, have been observed recently.

QoS parameters can be measured both from network monitoring terminals and field surveys through drive tests. With the adaptation of 3G and 4G technologies, it is about time to set some benchmarks/thresholds for Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs), which they must comply with to ensure consumers’ satisfaction. PTA has stated that the QoS regulations 2011 and subsequent amendments in 2012 have a scope and applicability to all cellular mobile communication services to identify the minimum quality of service standards and associated measurement.

However, with the award of Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) licensees, the regulations need to be amended per NGMS licenses and keeping in view the international best practices and ensuring the provision of best service quality to consumers of mobile services.

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The existing regulations provide Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and measurement procedures, which are primarily concerned with voice service and short messaging service (SMS).

The regulations have not defined any KPI for NGMS or mobile broadband service. The QoS KPIs in cellular mobile network QoS regulations 2011, of voice and SMS services amendments, are suggested in the existing QoS KPIs regarding its measurement procedure and threshold values, etc.

The award of NGMS licenses has paved the way for the introduction of new QoS KPIs for Voice and Mobile Broadband. The suggested QoS KPIs to be made part of the QoS Regulations are mentioned below.

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