KATHMANDU:  Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is gearing up to implement the new Quality Guidelines for telecom companies from July 16.

The telecom sector regulator is introducing such guidelines in a bid to regulate services being provided by domestic telecom operators following rising complaints on telecommunication services.

“We have almost finalised the draft of Quality Guidelines. Enforcement of the new guideline is aimed at enhancing quality of services being provided by domestic telecom firms,” Digambar Jha, chairman of NTA said, adding that telecom operators of late have been compromising on quality due to lack of strong regulatory provision on telecommunication services.

According to Jha, the NTA board will soon send the final draft of Quality Guidelines to the Ministry of Information and Communications for approval.

The new NTA guideline has introduced different provisions that require telecom companies to compensate their customers if they are unable to deliver quality services. The guideline has fixed quality standards for data and voice services and telecom companies will have to compensate their customers on breaching the set quality standard. However, NTA is yet to decide on the nature of compensation that the telecom companies will have to extend if they compromise on quality.

Similarly, the new guideline has also stated that telecom operators cannot charge customers if their call is dropped for conversations that are of a duration of less than 10 seconds due to system or network failure. This means that if a customer’s call is dropped due to the operator’s system failure within nine seconds of the call, the operator cannot charge the customer for that call. As NTA has already implemented new pulse duration of call at 10 seconds, customers whose call is dropped in between 10 seconds and 20 seconds will be charged only for 10 seconds. However, this provision will be applied for call drop on the will of the customer.

“NTA believes that this provision will play an instrumental role to encourage telecom firms in country to improve their services. It will also result in healthy competition among telecommunication service providers,” said Jha.

Earlier, NTA had also directed telecom operators in the country to bring down the pulse duration of mobile calls in two phases — to 10 seconds from April 14 and to one second from October 18. Implementation of this direction will ensure that customers are not overcharged by telecom firms. Pulse duration refers to the minimum billing unit of each phone call.

–  HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

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