A recent network benchmark test conducted by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), comparing the Grade of Service and overall signal quality of both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications against NTC Cellular Mobile Telephone System (CMTS) standards showed the Globe legacy network outperforming competition’s recently modernized network in terms of grade of service. The Globe legacy network also performed at parity with the upgraded network of Smart in almost all other metrics.
In the most important benchmark where the NTC has an applied industry standard consisting of Grade of Service or Call Setup Failure Rate (CSFR), Globe Telecom’s legacy network outperformed its competition who has widely announced its network upgrade completion. With the Grade of Service or CSFR standard set by the NTC at 4%, Globe recorded a nearly identical 4.45% while Smart registered a distant 9.95% (closer to the industry standard is better). This means that call success rates are higher using the Globe legacy network at 95.55%. For consumers, the experience is that it is easier to call using the Globe legacy network with more calls getting connected even at first try.
For Drop Call Rate, the NTC standard is 2%, and test results showed both telcos performed within the standard with Globe registering 1.6% at parity with Smart’s 1.5%. Clearly, the results belie the claims made by Smart in its multi-million negative advertising campaigns pointing out drop calls and difficulty in making calls within the Globe legacy network.
In terms of Call Set Up Time, both telcos performed within the acceptable standard of below 14 seconds. The Globe legacy network performed at parity with 11.9 seconds versus the Smart upgraded network at 11.74 seconds. This is a measure of how fast domestic calls get connected from one number to the other.
Other metrics in the study included Average Signal Quality with a minimum acceptable range of 0-4, the closer to 0, the better. The telcos performed at parity, both performing above 0.50. The final metric is the Average Receive Signal Level with a minimum acceptable range of -85 dBm. Both telcos did not make it to the standard.
The NTC benchmark study was conducted during the second quarter of 2012 in sixteen cities in Metro Manila, through network drive tests using prepaid SIMs of both telcos with a sample size of over 3,000 test calls.
NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba earlier called the attention of both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications on what he referred to as increasing complaints from customers about drop calls and undelivered text messages, asking both firms to explain the causes for the disruptions and to give a timetable for completion of their network modernization programs.
Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu in his reaction to the recent NTC benchmark results said, ”It is now clear who is telling the truth and really giving good service to the public even with just our legacy network. Competition has claimed they are done with their upgrade and there’s no denying the official results from NTC quality tests show their upgraded network performs even below NTC standards. As soon as we fully fire up our brand new network, our subscribers and the entire nation will enjoy a whole new mobile experience that is once again pioneered by Globe Telecom.”
Globe announced recently that its $700-million network modernization program is more than 50% done and is progressively rolling out ahead of schedule for change-out completion nationwide within the first quarter of 2013. Cu said that unlike other transformation programs that involve merely upgrades, Globe is building a brand-new network that is future-proof and built to provide higher call quality, pervasive 3G and 4G coverage, and faster mobile internet experience.