Mobile Broadband 4G LTE

The mobile broadband phone signal strength (for 4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE)) is rapidly becoming the next focus for our clients. After mobile phone signal strength, showing the extent of 4G blackspots is the new challenge for regions on the edge of major urban areas. Delivering high-speed data upload and download speeds is the focus of 4G. Without a 4G signal, you are relegated to the older inferior networks. 4G coverage is currently far smaller than Voice and 3G coverage as demonstrated by the images below. Clients are now adding this testing service in addition to the voice signal strength to highlight where to facilitate carrier upgrades in line with demand. The Mobile Coverage App produces a different set of pins to highlight the different networks being tested. For 4G networks the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) ranges form 0 (blackspot) to 63 after conversion from the dBm. Our maps reflect this with graduated colours from 1-21 (red shades), 22-42 (blue shades) and 43-63 (green shades). As the testing vehicle drives we capture signal strength measures every 50 to 100 metres. Over a 500km test drive we can capture between 5,000 and 10,000 markers for each carrier. With as many as 30,000 markers showing qualitative results, we can easily highlight network strengths and weaknesses. The results for an area are then exported to Google Earth and review every signal strength result against the network and the carrier coverage maps. We then prepare blackspot coverage maps to highlight where there is no service or where the service is so weak that a call is likely to be dropped. With this information our clients are then able to easily identify local priority locations. Discussions with carriers regarding future investment priorities become informed and proactive.

Why is testing 4G signal strength important?

As capital cities enjoy the full range of competition, coverage and capacity throughout, whereas regional and rural areas are constantly playing catch-up. You are better positioned to facilitate carrier investment when you have a robust business case showing the gaps and demonstrating that your region will encourage demand increased through tailored communications programs to encourage business and consumer use of local networks. The Digital Economy Group Mobile Coverage App tests all three networks at the same time with matching equipment that a typical user has. This way the testing is a real world user experience. This information is then exported onto a Google Earth Map and the signal strength of the three carriers compared. We then synthesize the results into colour coded lines showing where the Blackspots are and which Carrier(s). Clients then have an independently generated evidence base to discuss with the carriers and seek investment in their region. For more information, email us.