Telecom regulator Trai has said that 'operator-assisted' drive tests, which measure call drops and service quality, would start across various locations soon.
These tests would be conducted around each of Trai's five regional offices including Jaipur, Hyderabad and Bangalore, by March.
"The operator-assisted drive tests where operators do their own drive tests and Trai participates and monitors…
They are going to start very soon at various places," Trai Chairman RS Sharma said.
The operator-assisted tests – a new concept by Trai – involves operators' equipment and costs, with the regulator monitoring and supervising the entire process.
"Trai is partnering with the operators to do the drive tests to measure quality of service… We have five regional offices and we have requested the operators to conduct drive tests and our regional officers…they tell the time and place in terms of which city, which road, place, route…," Sharma said.
"They are saying, by March we will conduct 4 drive tests in each of the five regions," he said, adding that these locations include Bhopal, Jaipur, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.
The 'operator-assisted' drive tests will most likely precede the independent drive tests conducted by the regulator.
"As far as our drive tests are concerned…I had earlier mentioned that there were some issues with our agency…they are being sorted out and those tests should start soon…within a couple of weeks," Sharma said.
Asked if transparency will be an issue, when drive tests to assess call drops and service quality are conducted by the operators, Sharma said, "I am sure it will be transparent and the operators will collaborate".
"Quality of service is certainly a consumer (centric) problem but it is also an operator problem…customer care and quality of service is good for the service providers too," he said.
Last year, independent drive tests were conducted by Trai in Amritsar in August-September, and in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Trivandrum in May-June.
Typically, drive tests assess the performance of networks on various quality benchmarks, including call set-up success rate, call drop rate, blocked calls and Radio Frequency (RF) coverage.