Virgin Mobile tops regulator’s service benchmark: Survey

January 16th, 2009 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Only five telecom operators out of 11 have met the 90 percent quality of service benchmark set by the sector’s watchdog, a survey released Friday said.Interestingly, the country’s largest private operator Airtel is among the firms that failed to meet the benchmark of 90 percent that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has set for quality of service.

“Virgin Mobile topped user satisfaction in 2008 while players like Airtel, BPL, Idea, state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Spice fell short of the benchmark set by telecom watchdog TRAI,” said the survey conducted by CyberMedia group’s flagship communications industry monthly Voice&Data in association with JuxtConsult, an online research firm.

A sample of 1,318 mobile users in India was quizzed on various factors to determine overall user satisfaction.

State-owned operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Vodafone jostled for the second spot with scores of 91.96 percent and 91.97 percent respectively, the survey said.

The two other players to cross the TRAI benchmark of 90 percent are Reliance Communications and Tata Indicom.

Last year’s top scorer Aircel slipped from 92.23 percent to 85.44 percent, according to the results released in Voice&Data’s January issue.

“A side-effect of the scorching pace of growth of the mobile phones in India is the rapid drop in quality of service. Five major players - Airtel, BPL, Idea, MTNL and Spice - have yet to touch their previous best score achieved in 2005. This is a cause for major concern,” CyberMedia’s chief editor Prasanto K. Roy said.

The survey conducted during October-November 2008, recorded user satisfaction on five broad parameters - pre-sales and sales, network availability, value-added service (VAS), customer care, and billing.

Expectedly, all service providers exceeded the 90 percent user satisfaction benchmark on the pre-sales and sales parameter with Virgin Mobile topping the list followed by MTNL.

Users participating in the survey found BPL and MTNL’s network performance most satisfactory with high scores of 98.2 percent and 97 percent respectively with Airtel and Idea just making the cut above the 90 percent mark.

On the VAS parameter, BSNL topped the charts with only Idea and Aircel performing below the TRAI benchmark, the survey said.

However, in the customer care parameter, none of the 11 players, including the topper Virgin Mobile, could muster enough support from users to get past the 90 percent benchmark.

In terms of billing integrity, the four toppers were Virgin, Vodafone, BSNL and Reliance, the survey said.

The average waiting time to speak to a customer care representative of Airtel and BSNL was 4.8 minutes. Idea and Spice customer have to wait an average of five minutes with a Vodafone customer having to wait for 5.2 minutes.

However, mobile services in metro circles improved in 2008 with all the operators, except Aircel, showing higher customer satisfaction and crossing the benchmark set by TRAI, the survey said.

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