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Mapping the truth on coverage

The first few months of this year saw a massive increase in mobile complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. It seems carriers are not living up to their promises — and most of those promises are made on their mobile coverage maps.

On today’s Twisted Wire, Teresa Corbin, CEO of Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, says there are known black spots that are not showing up on carriers coverage maps. Yet Telstra at least says its maps are accurate. Max Jennings, Telstra’s director of Wireless Network Engineering, says the telco continually tracks usage of each mobile cell to ensure they match up to the levels promised on its coverage maps.

In the UK, according to an investigation by The Sunday Times, when applying for permission to build new towers, Vodafone and O2 provided different information to local councils than they made publicly available to consumers. Does that happen here?

Crowdsourcing could be one way of measuring the quality of network coverage and performance. On today’s program I talk to Sina Khanifar from opensignalmaps.com. Her firm has produced an Android app that tracks performance from your phone and maps it, along with other user data, to produce heat maps for various networks.

I ask this week whether the regulator has a role to provide in ensuring that accurate maps of network performance (not just coverage) are provided to consumers. As you’ll hear on the program, although it sounds like a good idea in principle, it would be highly problematic to implement.

First published on ZDNet

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