ARCEP publishes the results of its 2004-2005 quality of service survey for mobile telephony networks in France

Paris, 22 July 2005

For the eighth consecutive year, Autorité de Régulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP), along with operators and consumer and user associations, has conducted a survey of quality of service of mobile telephony networks in Metropolitan France, as experienced on a daily basis by the customers of the three operators.

This survey was held over a period of six months, from November 2004 to May 2005. More than 25 000 calls were made, close to 5 000 SMS and MMS were sent, almost 5 000 files downloaded and some 2 500 WAP and i-mode browsing sessions held under usual conditions of mobile telephone use: on foot, in cars, in buildings, in TGVs, in commuter trains and on motorways.

Measurements were taken in the 12 largest French cities with populations of more than 400 000, in 20 cities (chosen randomly) with 50 000 to 400 000 inhabitants and in 20 cities with 20 000 to 50 000 inhabitants.

It is important to remember that the statistical measurements taken correspond primarily to the most representative uses of mobile telephones, and therefore cannot reflect all local and individual perceptions of users.

 

  • Major changes with respect to the 2003-2004 survey

In 2003-2004, ARCEP began measurin file downloading in packet mode.

In addition to these new measurements, the 2004-2005 survey also included experimental tests of multimedia messaging services (MMS and i-mode messages) and WAP and i-mode browsing in cities with more than 400 000 inhabitants. Due to the experimental nature of the measurements, these results are being published this year as a total for all three operators.

  • Primary survey resultsy
    For voice service

The results of calls made in cities (excluding commuter trains) show an average success rate of around 98%. There are no significant disparities between the operators on the quality of service offered in the cities tested.

Moreover, confirming the trend observed in the 2002 survey, we did not observe any significant disparity in the quality of service based on peak and non-peak times, showing good management by operators of network loads.

The successful call rate and the perfect quality rate in cities are overall above 90% for all sub-populations and all uses considered (excluding commuter trains).

While these results remain at a good level, they do show that close to one call in ten made in cars and more than one in twenty made on foot does not meet users' requirements for audio quality and service reliability comparable to that of fixed telephones.

Concerning the measurements taken on roads, we make the following comments:

- The measurements taken on motorways show an average rate of successful calls maintained for two minutes of 96%, up significantly over the 2003-2004 survey. On the other hand, the rate of perfect quality calls, around 82%, remains below that of calls made in cities.
- Although improving, the quality on board TGV high speed trains remains lower overall than on motorways. The success rate obtained for TGVs is up four points over the 2003-2004 survey.

    For data services

- The file downloading measurements taken on the GPRS network show overall good quality of service. The successful connection rate is 99%, with an average connection time of six seconds. This has improved significantly, showing good availability of GPRS. As for file downloading, the rate of files received without error is greater than 98% for both 10 kB and 100 kB files.
- The measurements taken for text messages (SMS) show excellent service reliability for the third year in a row, with 99% of messages received within 30 seconds.
- Multimedia messaging service (MMS and i-mode messages), which is growing in popularity, shows overall satisfactory results with 94% of messages received, and 75% received within 2 minutes.
- WAP and i-mode browsing services have a 99% success rate for access to the operator's portal and a 92% success rate in maintaining browsing for 5 minutes. These initial results lead us to hope for good service reliability.