TRAI accuses Vodafone, Idea, Aircel for misusing call drop masking technology

Leading mobile operators like Vodafone, Aircel and Idea have reportedly been misusing call drop masking technology, according to TRAI. This technology lets the call remain connected even if a consumer moves to a poor network coverage area, and he gets charged for it.

However, COAI has denied allegation stating that the so-called ‘call drop masking technology,’ is a parameter called Radio Link Time Out (RLT) feature, which is a part of the GSM standards is used globally. It only decides for how long the call should be sustained if the signal quality drops below a certain level.

Vodafone was allegedly using higher RLT value than the others in 97 percent of cell sites, Idea Cellular 80% and Aircel around 64% on cell sites. This practice is not just followed in Mumbai, but also in other cities like Delhi, Chandigarh and Hyderabad, especially with Vodafone.

A critical report of the drive by tests conducted in Mumbai revealed that the operators did not meet the call drop rate benchmark of <=2%. The only exceptions were Airtel on 2G and 3G, and Vodafone on 2G. All the operators have met the call setup benchmark besides MTNL 2G, 3G, and RCOM 2G.

Even Tata Teleservices Ltd was found to be using a higher RLT value. They did it in 23% cell sites in Mumbai.

The Rx quality rate benchmark is meant to measure the voice quality of a cellular service provider. This is usually measured on a scale of seven in network measurement reports, but TRAI has replaced it with a percentage.

Vodafone remains to be the biggest accused in this matter. As far as a solution is concerned, there hasn’t been any statement from either party.

The drive test was randomly conducted over a stretch of about 580 kilometers between the dates May 10 and May 13.