Today Arcep is publishing the results of its quality-of-service (QoS) audit in the French overseas departments and territories. All of the data are available as open datasets on the “Mon réseau mobile” website.
These publications give consumers in the overseas territories the ability to compare local operators’ performance, and for decision-makers to obtain an assessment of mobile connectivity in their territory.
This audit represents more than 400,000 measurements taken in Guadeloupe, Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion, Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, on some 10 different operators in total. The audit concerned the most widely used mobile services: web browsing, video streaming, data transfer, texting and voice calls. The tests that were performed sought to evaluate the performance of operators’ networks in an entirely comparable manner, and under a variety of conditions.
Moderate improvement in quality of service, with progress between 2020 and 2021 that varies a great deal from operator to operator
The findings are to be assessed on a territory-by-territory basis:
- In Guadeloupe and Martinique: Orange ranks number one on the majority of criteria. Outremer Telecom have improved noticeably on voice call quality, while the quality of service provided by Digicel is below what it was during the previous audit on both web browsing and streaming but has improved for texting.
- In Guiana: Average connection speeds are increasing. There has been an improvement in “internet” applications (web browsing, streaming…) for Orange and Outremer Telecom. The quality of service provided by Digicel is below what it was during the previous audit on web browsing, streaming, and calling.
Tests were performed in remote areas for Orange and Digicel (Outremer Telecom does not provide coverage in these areas). The results for Digicel voice services are mixed, while internet quality of service remains weak. Orange provides a more satisfactory level of QoS for both mobile internet and calling services, albeit in fewer areas.
- Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, web browsing and streaming quality from all players remains steady for residential services, except for Digicel whose QoS has declined. For all operators, most calls are completed successfully but there is regularly audible interference during off-net calls.
- In Reunion: Despite a decrease in success rates for voice calls and texting (especially for SRR and Telco OI), scores remain high: on average, 93% of calls in residential locations are maintained without audible interference. The quality of service provided by Zeop has improved significantly on web browsing and streaming, with performance levels comparable to those of Orange and SRR on most indicators. Telco OI nevertheless trails behind on data services.
- In Mayotte, Orange and SRR provide the best mobile internet quality of service. Orange delivers the best performance when it comes to calling, followed by Telco OI. Some QoS levels are down across the board: this is true of web browsing, voice calls and texting. Streaming quality is improving for all players, except Maoré Mobile whose quality of service is below what it was during the previous audit on a number of indicators.
One change worth noting: Orange began providing Voice over LTE services on its overseas networks this year. This feature provides a better quality of calls, shorter call setup time and the ability to have a high-speed connection during the call.
There can be significant differences in quality between operators and between the territories: Arcep invites everyone to compare them on the “Mon réseau mobile” website, and to view the results according to their needs and their location.
Change in methodology for the 2021 audit: tests that more accurately reflect the user experience
This year, Arcep tweaked the methodology employed to test video streaming services in Reunion and in Mayotte. Up until now, tests had been performed with a resolution set at 720p. In 2021, to reflect users’ actual experience more accurately, resolution is no longer blocked at 720p but, rather, is adaptative. Streaming can therefore be performed using different resolutions.
A video stream is considered to be of decent quality if it meets the following criteria:
A video stream is considered to be of perfect quality if it meets the following criteria:
Verification of operators’ theoretical coverage maps, with a new required reliability threshold of 98%
One aspect of Arcep’s measurement campaign in the overseas territories involves the verification of operators’ coverage maps: these maps, which are produced based on digital simulations, cover voice calling, texting and mobile internet services. Arcep thus verified that the maps operators provided for Q2 2021 met a high level of accuracy across each territory. At the end of 2020, Arcep increased this reliability threshold from 95% to 98%. In some instances, the findings of this reliability audit led operators to make corrections to their local maps.