DoT limits subscriber enrollment during network test to 5%; trial phase to 180 days

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NEW DELHI: India’s telecom department has restricted enrollment of test subscribers on network of a new mobile operator to 5 per cent of its network capacity during trial phase and testing period to maximum six months.
“The number of test subscribers that can be enrolled by a licensee in licensed service area (LSA or telecom circle) shall be limited to 5 per cent of its installed network capacity for that LSA,” the department said in its order.
The order has come in to effect from Oct 9.
The telecom operator will need to submit details of network capacity to the Department of Telecom (DoT) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India at least 15 days before commencing enrollment of test subscribers.
The guidelines come following issue of continuous enrollment of test subscribers when Reliance Jio started its network test. Rivals of Jio approached the DoT and the telecom regulator to act against the practice, alleging that Jio is on-boarding customers by masquerading them as test subscribers.
Mukesh Ambani led Jio started testing of 4G network with its employees first in late 2015 and gradually opened it for all customers without announcing final date for commercial launch of its 4G service. The company had enrolled around 15 lakh customers before commercially starting its service on September 5.
The DoT order restricts network test to 90 days and on case-to-case basis the test phase can extended to 180 days.