ART releases the results of a second survey to assess coverage by mobile phone networks

Paris, 13 December 2001

<font size="3">France's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ART) recently conducted a second survey to assess coverage by mobile networks in sixty <em>cantons</em>. This follows on from an initial survey of forty <em>cantons </em>carried out last June. By the end of 2001 therefore, ART will have tested coverage in a total of one hundred <em>cantons</em>. </font>

 

<font size="3">A key area of ART's activities, in accordance with one of the objectives assigned by the 1996 Telecoms Act, is to address issues of regional development. It is therefore natural that ART should contribute to the discussion currently in progress on nationwide mobile network coverage. </font>

 

<font size="3">The "field" phase of the survey was conducted by Directique, a specialised consultancy, over a six week period beginning in October.</font>

 

<font size="3">The method used for the second survey differed from that of the first insofar as accessibility tests were carried out at a great many points in each <em>canton</em>. (An accessibility test consists in verifying whether a ring tone is obtained when a number is dialled.) The field phase confirmed that the measurement protocol was improved when this test was used.</font>

 

<font size="3">The survey measured coverage along the French road network. Of course, considering the number of <em>cantons </em>surveyed, final conclusions about the whole of France cannot be drawn from the results. However, the results do reveal major differences between <em>cantons</em>, and also between the operators within a given <em>canton</em>. Out of sixty <em>cantons</em>, forty-nine have coverage of more than ninety percent by at least one operator and ten are covered to less than sixty percent by at least one operator. Overall, the three operators provide coverage of eighty-six percent in these <em>cantons</em>. For the one hundred <em>cantons </em>tested during the two coverage surveys carried out by ART this year, average coverage works out at eighty-three percent.</font>

 

<font size="3">ART is making its methodology available to local authorities so that they can carry out surveys to determine, as reliably as possible, the real degree of coverage in the zones that concern them. For this purpose, ART has signed a partnership agreement with an association of <em>départements</em>, and is about to sign several agreements with the <em>départements</em> concerned.</font>

 

<font size="3">The results of these studies will shed light on the choice of coverage objectives for the <em>départements </em>and will make it easier to implement the guidelines laid down during the interministerial committee meeting on regional development, held in Limoges on 9 July 2001.</font>

 

 

<font size="3">RESULTS OF THE SURVEY</font>

<font size="1"></font>

<font size="3">Coverage as tested by an investigator standing outdoors and corresponding to calls of acceptable quality </font>

 

<font size="3">Canton</font>

<font size="3">Dpt</font>

<font face="Arial" size="3">Coverage of the operator providing the best coverage in the canton </font>

<font face="Arial" size="3">Coverage of the operator providing the worst coverage in the canton </font>

<font size="3">Accessibility rate (1)</font>

<font size="3">Coverage rate (2)</font>

<font size="3">Accessibility rate (1)</font>

<font size="3">Coverage rate (2)</font>

<font size="3">Saint-Agrève</font>

<font size="3">07</font>

<font size="3">56% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">54% <em>± 2.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">38% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">37% <em>± 2.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">Pont-Audemer</font>

<font size="3">27</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">84% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">82% <em>± 2.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">Authon-du-Perche</font>

<font size="3">28</font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">93% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">82% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">81% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Cloyes-sur-le-Loir</font>

<font size="3">28</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">89% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">Courville-sur-Eure</font>

<font size="3">28</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">91% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">La Ferté-Vidame</font>

<font size="3">28</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">87% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">La Loupe</font>

<font size="3">28</font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">89% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">Senonches </font>

<font size="3">28</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 1.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">86% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">85% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">Thiron-Gardais</font>

<font size="3">28</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">88% <em>± 1.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">Azay le Rideau</font>

<font size="3">37</font>

<font size="3">91% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">77% <em>± 0.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">75% <em>± 2.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">Bourgueuil</font>

<font size="3">37</font>

<font size="3">74% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">73% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">61% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">61% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">Château la Vallière</font>

<font size="3">37</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">55% <em>± 2.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">54% <em>± 2.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">Chinon</font>

<font size="3">37</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">89% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">87% <em>± 2.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">Langeais</font>

<font size="3">37</font>

<font size="3">86% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">84% <em>± 2.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">44% <em>± 2.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">44% <em>± 2.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">L'Ile Bouchard</font>

<font size="3">37</font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 1.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">82% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">80% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Neuillé Pont Pierre</font>

<font size="3">37</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">83% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">82% <em>± 2.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">Neuvy le Roi</font>

<font size="3">37</font>

<font size="3">94% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">93% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">76% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">74% <em>± 2.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">Le Touvet</font>

<font size="3">38</font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">89% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">87% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">Lamotte-Beuvron</font>

<font size="3">41</font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">81% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">79% <em>± 2.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">Meung sur Loire</font>

<font size="3">45</font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">Figeac est</font>

<font size="3">46</font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">91% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">77% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">75% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">Duras</font>

<font size="3">47</font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">89% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">39% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">38% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">La Canourgue</font>

<font size="3">48</font>

<font size="3">84% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">81% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">45% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">43% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">Le Teilleul</font>

<font size="3">50</font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Barenton</font>

<font size="3">50</font>

<font size="3">89% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">87% <em>± 2.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">79% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">77% <em>± 2.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">Ambrières les Vallées</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">Bais</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">94% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">49% <em>± 2.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">48% <em>± 3.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">Couptrain</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">89% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Gorron</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">94% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">Landivy</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">75% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">74% <em>± 2.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">Le Horps</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">83% <em>± 2.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">80% <em>± 2.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Mayenne est</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">93% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">90% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">Mayenne Ouest</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">87% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">85% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">Villaines la Juhel</font>

<font size="3">53</font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 1.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">94% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">77% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">77% <em>± 2.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">Briouze</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">71% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">70% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">Carrouges</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">79% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">78% <em>± 2.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">69% <em>± 2.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">68% <em>± 2.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">Courtomer</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 1.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">84% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">82% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">Ecouché</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">88% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">86% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">53% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">51% <em>± 2.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">Exmès</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">33% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">31% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">Gacé</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">95% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">79% <em>± 1.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">77% <em>± 2.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">Mortrée</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">68% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">66% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Moulins la Marche</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">79% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">77% <em>± 1.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">73% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">70% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">Passais</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">93% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">Putanges</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">89% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">88% <em>± 1.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">75% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">73% <em>± 2.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">Sées</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">80% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">78% <em>± 1.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Trun</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 1.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">56% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">54% <em>± 2.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">Tourouvre</font>

<font size="3">61</font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">91% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">53% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">52% <em>± 2.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">Bapaume</font>

<font size="3">62</font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">83% <em>± 1.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">82% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">Châteldon</font>

<font size="3">63</font>

<font size="3">76% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">74% <em>± 1.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">63% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">61% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">Maubourguet</font>

<font size="3">65</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">87% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">85% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">Le Lude</font>

<font size="3">72</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 1.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">82% <em>± 1.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">80% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">Pontvallain</font>

<font size="3">72</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">78% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">75% <em>± 2.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">La Suze sur Sarthe</font>

<font size="3">72</font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Loué</font>

<font size="3">72</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">94% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">Conlie</font>

<font size="3">72</font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">84% <em>± 1.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">80% <em>± 2.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">Sillé le Guillaume</font>

<font size="3">72</font>

<font size="3">94% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">93% <em>± 1.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">79% <em>± 1.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">78% <em>± 2.0%</em></font>

<font size="3">Bourg-St-Maurice</font>

<font size="3">73</font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">93% <em>± 0.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

<font size="3">Albi Nord Est</font>

<font size="3">81</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">98% <em>± 0.8%</em></font>

<font size="3">92% <em>± 0.7%</em></font>

<font size="3">91% <em>± 1.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">Noirmoutier</font>

<font size="3">81</font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.1%</em></font>

<font size="3">100% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.3%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.6%</em></font>

<font size="3">St-Georges-les-Baillargeaux</font>

<font size="3">86</font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.2%</em></font>

<font size="3">99% <em>± 0.5%</em></font>

<font size="3">97% <em>± 0.4%</em></font>

<font size="3">96% <em>± 0.9%</em></font>

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<font size="1">(1) Accessibility is defined as the capacity for a user to access the network, that is to obtain the ring tone when making a call, from any point along any road in each of the cantons tested.</font>

 

<font size="1">(2) Coverage is defined as the capacity for a user not only to access the network but also to hold a telephone conversation lasting at least one minute with acceptable sound quality, from any point along any road in each of the cantons tested. This notion of coverage therefore includes the notion of accessibility, with an added criterion in terms of service quality.</font>

<font size="3">The three operators provided average coverage of eighty-six percent in these sixty cantons.</font>

 

Methodology used to assess mobile network coverage

<font size="3">1) General description of the survey</font>

<font size="3">a) Principles</font>

<font size="3">The study consisted in carrying out a field campaign to measure the actual territorial coverage provided by each operator. </font>

<font size="3">The survey tested sixty <em>cantons</em>, fifteen of which were non-contiguous and forty five of which were adjacent.</font>

 

<font size="3">Coverage is defined as the probability that a user can make a call lasting at least one minute, and with satisfactory sound quality, from any point along any road in each of the <em>cantons </em>tested. </font>

 

<font size="3">All measurements were made under conditions reproducing those of a subject outdoors and on foot. </font>

 

<font size="3">The method of statistical measurement used for this study comprised two parts:</font>

  • <font size="3"><b>Measurement</b>: Within the chosen geographic sample area, the following were measured: </font>
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        • <font size="3">Accessibility, by testing whether the ring tone was obtained when the number was dialled</font>
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        • <font size="3">Field strength</font>
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  • <font size="3"><b>Calibration</b>: This part consists in establishing a statistical relationship between the field strength received by the mobile phone and the possibility of actually making a call of acceptable quality and lasting at least one minute, given that the ring tone was obtained. </font>
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<font size="3">The rates of coverage provided by each operator were calculated using all geographically representative measurements of field strength and accessibility. The calibration function was used to convert these measurements into a set of probabilities of successfully making a call. </font>

<font size="3">b) Measurement</font>

<font size="3">The inspectors drove around within each <em>canton </em>on all types of road, in all directions and going through all <em>communes</em>, covering an average of 150 km. In each town, the measurement vehicle drove past the town hall.</font>

 

<font size="3">In this way, the investigators were able to cover a substantial proportion – between sixty-five and one hundred percent – of the roads in each <em>canton</em>.</font>

 

<font size="3">Every fifteen seconds without exception, investigators would get out of the vehicle to measure field strength and accessibility. </font>

 

<font size="3">In each <em>canton </em>therefore, the investigators took an average of more than 1,650 field strength and accessibility measurements, that is, more than 550 measurements for each network per <em>canton</em>. </font>

<font size="3">c) Calibration</font>

<font size="3">Depending on the network, between 2,100 and 2,600 calls from a mobile telephone to a wireline were successfully made, that is, the person being called answered the phone.</font>

 

<font size="3">Each call was either cut off or was successfully completed. In this case, sound quality was assessed by two investigators who were talking to one another, one using a cellphone and the other a wireline unit. Three ratings were awarded. A <strong>poor</strong> rating meant that the investigators had difficulty hearing what the person at the other end was saying. A rating of <strong>acceptable</strong> meant that the investigators had no difficulty hearing the other person but that the sound quality was poor. A <strong>perfect</strong> rating meant that sound quality was comparable to that of a wireline. If the investigators' ratings differed, the poorer of the two was used in the test result. </font>

 

<font size="3">In this way analysts were able to establish a calibration law that defined, for each level of field strength, the percentage of successful calls of satisfactory quality that were made, once network accessibility had been obtained, that is, investigators heard the ring tone when they dialled the number. </font>

<font size="3">2) Results and accuracy</font>

<font size="3">The table enclosed shows an assessment of the coverage, that is, the rate of accessibility and the rate of coverage for each <em>canton</em>. The table shows the coverage rate of the operator providing the best coverage in a particular <em>canton </em>and that of the operator with the worst coverage in the same <em>canton</em>. Operator names are not divulged and no information is provided that would allow the operators concerned to be identified. The statistical accuracy of the results is indicated.</font>


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