NTA introduces Teramox to ensure quality service, debunks surveillance claims

KATHMANDU: In an effort to bolster the reliability and quality of telecommunications services, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority has introduced the Telecommunication Traffic Monitoring and Front Control System, known as Teramox. However, this technology has faced resistance from telecom companies who have opted not to implement it. Despite an investment exceeding three billion, the lack of interest from these companies has led to its current non-implementation.

Purushottam Khanal, the Chairman of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, clarifies that Teramox’s purpose is to enhance service quality for consumers rather than intercepting calls. The technology is linked to three data centers of Ncell, but its adoption has been stalled. Similarly, Nepal Telecom has shown no inclination towards incorporating the technology.

Khanal asserts that the perception surrounding Teramox as a tool for collecting private information, such as SMS and call data, is inaccurate. He emphasizes that the technology’s intention is solely focused on improving service quality for the betterment of consumers.

According to Khanal, the technology has been obtained legally with only the necessary features tailored for use. He clarifies that currently, relevant agencies can access essential SMS and call data through the service providers, sanctioned by district court orders.

He further highlights that implementing all features, including call details, would have doubled the cost. The Telecommunication Authority has published a white paper detailing Teramox’s functionalities.

Khanal underscores that Teramox was introduced to ensure fair charging and service quality for consumers. However, telecom service providers have been unwilling to participate under various pretexts.

The authority intends to cover installation and operational expenses for Teramox. Khanal explains that when granting licenses to companies, the authority aims to ensure compliance with established guidelines, accessibility, service quality, and fees. The technology also offers compensation recommendations to customers and can aid in resolving disputes where service providers charge excessive fees.

Teramox’s scope encompasses monitoring declining telecom traffic and call bypass. The authority has noted an increase in customer numbers but a decrease in revenue within the telecom industry.

Statistics from the authority reveal a 21 billion turnover reduction in the telecom sector from the fiscal year 2074/75 to 2078/79. Despite expanding networks and customer bases, income continues to decrease. Teramox’s analysis will investigate this income decline despite increased data usage.

Notably, over 12 billion in state income was lost between 2068 and 2076 due to call bypass, according to Nepal Police’s Central Investigation Bureau. This underscores the need for technology like Teramox to uncover revenue discrepancies and ensure accountability.

Khanal emphasizes the importance of comprehensive telecom coverage, likening it to the even coverage of a carpet across a room. Teramox investigates call patterns and payment distribution among service providers, aiming to respect customer privacy while obtaining valuable insights.

The Nepal Telecommunication Authority is confident that Teramox’s deployment will lead to improved service quality across regions. The technology’s assessment of service volume in different areas will enable targeted quality enhancement measures.

The authority underscores Teramox’s role in tackling issues such as call bypass losses, declining telecom provider income, and remote customer service disparities. Through this technology, the authority seeks to uphold the integrity of telecom services and address issues promptly.

Umesh Poudel |
Thursday August 24, 2023, 11:50:46 AM |

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