Mobile Internet now faster: poll

IMPROVEMENT::A researcher found that mobile Web connection and downloads go quicker now than last year, indicating that carriers have improved their services

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - Page 3

A survey conducted by the Telecom Technology Center (TTC) shows that the quality of the nation’s mobile telecommunications services appears to have improved slightly since last year, an indication that carriers are taking action to improve the speed of Internet connections.

The center was commissioned by the government to test the speed of mobile Internet services amid rising complaints from consumers about the slow speed of their Web connections, both in fixed network and mobile Internet service.

It announced the results of its first stage of testing last year, which was carried out between May and July.

The center did a second stage of testing between August and November last year in which it measured mobile Internet speed both from a fixed location and while moving.

Results showed that the average download speed reported by consumers had risen from 1.98 megabits per second (Mbps) in stage one of testing, to 2.52Mbps in stage two. While consumers polled in the first round of the survey said that it took them an average of 2.56 seconds to open a Facebook and YouTube page, the time dropped to 2.48 seconds in the second stage.

The center’s tests also showed that the average speed of mobile Internet downloads from a fixed location rose from 1.71Mbps to 2.07Mbps in the second period of testing. The average download speed reported when the user was in transit, for example when on the MRT, also increased from 1.23Mbps to 1.48Mbps in between testing stages.

The researchers also tested mobile Internet service speeds in residential areas, shopping malls, roads and public areas. Using laptops equipped with network interface controller cards, they found that the average download service reached 2.07Mbps.

The service speed in public places, residential areas and shopping malls ranges from 2.08Mbps to 2.23 Mbps.

The results showed that telecoms carriers have installed more base stations in densely populated areas and those with higher demand for mobile Web use to fortify wireless signals, the center said.

Further analyses on data collected during the second stage of testing found that approximately 52 percent of consumers polled reported a download speed of between 2Mbps and 5Mbps.

About 20 percent said that they had experienced a download speed below 1Mbps and 8.59 percent reported download speed below 500 kilobits per second (kbps).

However, the Web users surveyed reported a drastic decline in the quality of their Internet service when they went online while in transit. About 52 percent reported a download speed of less than 1Mbps and about 32 percent said they experienced a download speed below 500kbps. Only 37.72 percent reported download speeds of between 1Mbps and 3Mbps.

The center also found that consumers experienced smoother mobile Internet connectivity between 1am and 10am, with the average download speed reaching 2.55Mbps. The fastest connection, 2.97Mbps, was found at 5am.

The connection speed ranged from 2.33Mbps to 2.49Mbps between 10am and 8pm, with consumers saying they experienced a slower connection between 8pm and 1am. The slowest Internet connection was reported at 10pm, with the speed dipping to 2.27Mbps.