Having seen the controversy related to Reliance Jio's free trial run stretched too far, TRAI on Monday started a consultation process to frame rules for the network testing before full-fledged commercial launch.
"The DoT requested the Authority to provide its recommendations on testing of network before commercial launch of services including enrolment of customers for testing purposes before commercial launch, duration of testing period etc...," TRAI's consultation paper said.
Accordingly, this consultation paper has been prepared to discuss issues involved, possible solutions and framework to bring clarity on the matter," the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said.
The consultation paper mentioned that till date, the need was not felt to specify various aspects of testing such as definition of test cards, limit of test cards, testing duration etc.
"However, in 2016, a TSP (telecom service provider) carried out testing of its long-term evolution (LTE) network on a very large scale and enrolled lakhs of subscribers as test users before commercial launch of its services...Some incumbent operators filed representations through their industry association expressing that this practice is unfair due...," the paper said.
The incumbent telecom operators have expressed concerns that enrolment of subscribers and provision of service free of cost before commercial launch are leading to a non-level playing field.
They also said the volume of voice traffic generated by such test users, due to free offers, is choking points of interconnect, and impairing the quality of service of other operators.
The last date for seeking comments on the issue is May 29 and for counter comments June 12.