Strand Consulting: Why the Quality of Mobile Networks Differs

Many believe that a mobile application can measure the quality of the mobile and fixt network. Strand Consult’s new report “The Moment of Truth – Why the Quality of Mobile Networks Differs” describes the many factors that affect the network’s capacity and coverage and the user’s experience.

It assesses and compares the mobile apps which claim to measure network quality at a time when mobile networks are evolving from 2G, 3G and 4G to a combination of 4G and 5G. The next generation mobile networks are more complex and use technologies such as carrier aggregation, spectrum management, and multiple input/multiple output (MIMO). These innovations change how a network is built and operated and therefore also how the networks performance can be measured.

As each cellular network is constructed differently, making comparisons across operators is difficult. The simple measurements collected and presented on a glossy app and the user’s experience will also differ considerably for various reasons.

While the effort to bring facts and evidence to policy and regulatory discussions is welcome, network measurement data from mobile apps is increasingly presented without adequate scientific and methodological background. Users of the various apps are perplexed about wildly differing measurements reported by the individual app even if the tests are run at the same time, in the same location and on the same device.

The same data may be used to praise a mobile operator one day but then to rank it in the bottom the next. Moreover, the performance of mobile operators varies widely across different apps. Vodafone, Orange, EE, Telia, Telenor, AT&T, Verizon, and Telefonica, and others have appeared either at the top or bottom of any one app report. This says more about the design of the app than the quality of any one network.

The report “The Moment of Truth – Why the Quality of Mobile Networks Differs” reviews the mobile apps and provides a common framework to judge their usefulness and applicability by better understanding they inner workings, potential and pitfalls.

Strand Consult’s report “The Moment of Truth – Why the Quality of Mobile Networks Differs” is offered either with or without a workshop. The report focuses on the many factors that influence the experience of network coverage, quality, and the capacity.

The report’s chapters include:

  • A review of the leading mobile network measurement apps. We describe and categorize how and which data the apps collect. We assess the marketing strategies of the apps in what they purport to measure versus the scientific state of the art of what can be measured.
  • An analysis of how the app interacts with the mobile phone and how the phone’s specifications can influence resulting network measurement. International examples are provided to demonstrate how wildly measurements can vary.
  • A review of the question of network quality in light of the relevant market factors. Network performance is mapped against factors such as gross domestic product (GDP), churn, ARPU, and so on.
  • An examination of the conditions for infrastructure development in the relevant country and different policies used by government actors for network deployment. It details how rollout policies vary considerably and compares these results to reported network quality, coverage, and capacity.
  • The report also examines measurement tools either mandated or preferred by telecom regulatory policies. The report examines the scientific basis for these tools and whether they can measure what they claim.
  • Viewpoints and analysis which is helpful to improve the discussion about the quality of mobile coverage and its measurement and can help to increase the scientific understanding of policymakers, press, and the public.

Strand Consult’s new report “The Moment of Truth – Why the Quality of Mobile Networks Differs” provides valuable scientific, policy, and market background to bring context to the growing popularity of network quality measurement by mobile apps. The report will help policymakers focus on the facts and other important scientific information when deciding how to measure network quality and what role apps should have in policy.

The report demonstrates that relying on mobile apps to measure network quality provides an incomplete and inaccurate picture of the network. It is based in part upon 7 years of experience of working with mobile coverage policy, regulatory issues and mobile measurement app initiatives across several countries.

If you want to know more, please request more information about our unique new report.

One thought on “Strand Consulting: Why the Quality of Mobile Networks Differs

  1. Telco reports
    Only a few years ago the Telco business was still a slow moving and monopolistic structure. But the technological revolution and the deregulation of markets have turned a once slumbering business into one of the fastest growing in the world. Most analysts and consultants points to the potential of this growing market. Few show their clients the road there.

    In order to realize the potential of the Telco market, operators, MVNO and service providers must first deal with the dual problem of bringing down acquisition costs and increasing airtime. This strategy involves an increased focus on a number of issues like educating the market, Develop the market and sell Value Added Services, Focusing on Customer Relations Management, Understanding how the technological development and Establishing partnerships with Media and Finance businesses

    Only after having focused on these issues will operators and MVNO’s be in a position to realise the potential of the future Telco market. This focus is their ‘ticket’ to the future. It is also the subject of our Telco reports.

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