Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has warned Zong and Jazz to comply with the Quality of Service (QoS) requirements in accordance with the applicable regulatory framework while imposing a fine of Rs. 0.2 million on Zong.
A panel comprising PTA Chairman Amir Azeem Bajwa and Member Compliance and Enforcement Dr Khawaja Siddiqui Khokhar issued the order against Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited, commonly known as Jazz, and China Mobile Pakistan Limited (Zong).
The Authority issued show-cause notices “Failure to meet or exceed QoS standards as laid down in the license and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)” to both operators.
Jazz QoS Performance
In order to measure the QoS performance of Jazz, a joint survey was carried out from October 26, 2020, to October 27, 2020, at Warsak & Charsadda Roads, Peshawar. During the survey, it was revealed that 4G/LTE signal strength, service accessibility, and call completion ratio were not meeting the licensing standards.
Accordingly, the survey results were shared with the licensee vide letter dated October 29, 2020, with the direction to improve the services up to the licensing standards and include the area in the 4G/LTE future rollout plan. The licensee was required to submit a compliance report by November 20, 2020.
In response thereof, the licensee vide email dated November 29, 2020, provided the reasons for the shortfalls/degradation in QoS stating that approx. 6 km patch is not covered due to the non-availability of LTE layer on two sites, and the same is planned to be upgraded in 2021.
In light of the response received from the Jazz, a resurvey was carried out independently at the said areas where it was observed that, contrary to the claim of the licensee, some of the QoS KPIs are persistently below the standards stipulated in the license.
Since the above said QoS results were not within the parameters of the license conditions and QoS Regulations, therefore, a show-cause notice (SCN) under section 23 of the Act on January 17, 2022, was issued whereby the licensee was required to remedy the contravention by bringing and maintaining the required standards of quality of service within fifteen (15) days and to explain in writing within thirty (30) days of the issuance of SCN.
Upon the receipt of SCN, the licensee again conducted drive tests of the given area on January 18, 2022, and found no anomaly or shortfall in this regard on the survey route. Instead, the CSSR, MOS, and RSRP 4G were found at par with license conditions. Survey results clearly indicate that there is no shortfall or breach of any KPIs as alleged in the aforesaid notice
Keeping in view the facts coupled with the available record, it is concluded that though the licensee has upgraded QoS KPIs at Charsadda and Warsak Roads. However, the call setup success rate still required improvement at Charsadda Road, Peshawar. Considering the progress in observing the QoS standards, the Authority issued a warning to the licensee with the direction to comply with the QoS requirements in accordance with the applicable regulatory framework.
In case of failure to comply with the regulatory compliance with regard to Quality of Service Standards, legal proceedings will be initiated against the licensee as per applicable laws.
Zong QoS Performance
In order to measure the QoS performance of the Zong, a joint survey was carried out from October 26, 2020, to October 27, 2020, at Warsak & Charsadda Roads, Peshawar. During the survey, it was revealed that 4G/LTE Signal Strength at Charsadda Road and 4G/LTE signal strength as well as call connection time at Warsak Road were observed below the license standards.
With regard to the licensee’s contention of carrying out a unilateral survey, it is clarified that in the instant matter, a joint survey was carried out and as per the survey report shortfalls were shared with the licensee. The licensee was required to improve the services up to the license standard and include the areas in the 4G /LTE future rollout plan. The licensee replied that it has improved and observing QoS standards as per required KPIs.
In order to verify the claim of the licensee, the Authority carried out an independent survey. As a result of an independent survey report, it has been found that QoS standards were below the required KPIs. As per license condition No. 6.5. l, the licensee is required to meet or exceed the Quality of Service standards described in Appendix-Ill of the license and QoS Regulations at all times.
After providing a fair opportunity for a hearing, the Authority again carried out an independent re-verification QoS at Warsak and Charasadda Roads, Peshawar on April 26, 2022. During the survey, it was observed that voice and data services of the licensee were satisfactory at Warsak Road except for the SMS success rate, whereas, voice and data services were identified as low graded at Charsadda Road.
The Authority concluded that despite extending all possible timeframe to improve QoS of licensed services in accordance with the applicable legal regulatory framework, the KPIs of voice and data services were identified as low graded at Charsadda Road, Peshawar. Therefore, due to non-adhering to the required standards a fine to the tune of Rs. 200,000 was imposed on the licensee with the direction to pay the same within one week from the date of receipt of this order. In case of failure to comply with the above, legal proceedings will be initiated against the licensee as per applicable law.