Sunday 23 October 2016

Big variance in signal between phone giants, survey claims

Published 17/10/2016 | 02:30

An international mobile operator survey claims to show big gaps in voice and data quality between Irish operators.

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P3's research, consisting of thousands of voice and data tests in cities, towns and main roads, claims there are differences of up to 60pc in the quality being experienced by mobile users, depending on their operator.

In towns such as Kilkenny, Portlaoise, Mullingar and Westport, as little as 25pc of some operators' users are experiencing proper mobile voice coverage.

And up to two-thirds of some operators' users are getting sub-par data quality on the country's main arterial road routes.

The research, which did not include a geographical breakdown by individual regions or cities, was commissioned by Vodafone Ireland's parent company, Vodafone Group.

A spokesman for P3 said the study was "independent" and that his company stood over the results as an accurate representation of voice and data network quality here. The spokesman said that Vodafone did not influence the criteria by which the tests were measured.

Nevertheless, the research claims that Vodafone Ireland scored the "best in test" in virtually every metric, including voice and data services in cities, towns and on major roads.

A recent national drive test survey by Comreg showed a more mixed set of results, with Meteor and Three sometimes scoring higher than Vodafone in individual regional metrics.

Similarly, networking testing by RootMetrics in July showed mixed results. That research, which consisted of between 9,000 and 13,000 tests in multiple Irish cities and counties, measured factors from data speed to dropped calls and texting reliability.

It found that the biggest disparities between the three major networks occurred in terms of call quality. In Dublin, Vodafone recorded the best call quality, with Three losing out most. The situation was reversed in Cork, where Vodafone suffered the worst recorded call quality and Three recorded the best.

The RootMetrics data suggested that the biggest disparity in dropped calls occurred in Limerick, where Meteor scored best and Vodafone scored worst.

For network speed, Vodafone came out top in all three cities, and in Dublin and Cork for data "performance". Three topped "network reliability" levels in Cork but came third in five out of six metrics for Dublin usage.

Irish Independent

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