ART publishes the results of its 2003 - 2004 quality of service survey for mobile networks in France

Paris, 12 July 2004

For the seventh consecutive year, in cooperation with operators and consumer and user associations, Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) has conducted a survey evaluating the quality of service of mobile telephony networks in Metropolitan France, as experienced by the customers of the three operators on a daily basis.

 

How was the survey conducted?

This survey was conducted by the firm Directique over a period of six months, between November 2003 and May 2004.

 

Close to 29 000 telephone calls were made, over 1 000 SMS sent and close to 5 000 files downloaded via GPRS under the most common conditions of use of mobile telephones: on foot (indoors and outdoors), in cars, as passengers, (in cities and on motorways), in trains (both suburban trains and high-speed TGVs).

 

Measurements were taken in the twelve largest cities in France with over 400 000 inhabitants, in 20 cities drawn randomly with populations of between 50 000 and 400 000, and in 20 cities with 20 000 to 50 000 inhabitants, also in a random draw.

 

One-third of the calls, which were made simultaneously on the networks of Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom, were made from a fixed phone to a mobile. The remaining two-thirds were made from a mobile to a fixed phone. The operators were not informed of the dates or locations of the measurements.

 

What’s new with respect to the 2002 survey

  • The survey was conducted over a period of six months (instead of four to six weeks as in previous surveys), making it easier to determine the actual state of the networks, which are sometimes disrupted for work.
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  • Measurements of the file downloading service in packet mode (GPRS) were conducted in cities of over 400 000 inhabitants, on an experimental basis.
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  • Measurements of the quality of mobile voice telephone service were taken in twenty cities with populations of between 20 000 and 50 000.
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  • Measurements were taken on motorways.
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  • The criteria for evaluating calls made from suburban trains and high-speed TGV lines were made stricter to better take account of actual use by consumers, in particular by considering tunnels.
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  • Finally, the format of publication has been changed to better reflect the relative position of each operator with respect to the average.
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Satisfactory results overall, except in suburban trains and TGVs

 

  • positive results
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The rate of calls which were "successful and maintained for 2 minutes" in cities (excluding suburban trains) remains close to 98%, confirming the very good result observed in 2002. No significant difference in the quality of service was observed between peak and non-peak hours, particularly in cities with over 400 000 inhabitants, showing good control by operators of network loads.

 

Moreover, the rate of calls "of perfect quality" in cities was between 89% and 96% overall, depending on the use, with a slight advantage for medium-sized cities with between 50 000 and 400 000 inhabitants with respect to larger cities with over 400 000 inhabitants and small cities with 20 000 to 50 000 inhabitants. This good performance of cities with populations of 50 000 to 400 000, with improved results over 2002, point up the special efforts made by operators in these areas.

 

The measurements taken on motorways show very good results: the rate of successful calls maintained for 2 minutes is 94%.

 

Measurements for SMS are very good.

 

Finally, GPRS measurements were taken for the first time this year, on an experimental basis, and show good quality for this service, which has recently gained in popularity. The rate of successful connections to the GPRS network is 97% with an average connection time of around 8 seconds, demonstrating very good availability of the GPRS network. The rate of files downloaded without error is 93% for files of both 10 kb and 100 kb.

 

  • improvement needed
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- The rate of perfect quality in large cities with over 400 000 inhabitants, while remaining very good, appears limited by the high concentration of traffic.

 

- On TGV lines, the rate of calls which were "successful and maintained for 2 minutes" tops out at just 69%, and that of calls which are of "perfect quality" at 54% (compared with 94% and 81% respectively on motorways).

 

- In suburban trains, the rate of calls which were "successful and maintained for 2 minutes" is just 80%, and that of calls which are of "perfect quality" falls to 67%.