Tuesday, September 18, 2012

99% 3G coverage??

Recently I was reading about the LTE vs 3G coverage of Singapore Telcos and I read with disbelief that they touted that Singapore has 99% 3G coverage. Personally, I question the way they calculate 3G coverage.

It's very easy to do a simple test. Enable your 3G connection on your smartphone, and take the MRT from Jurong East to Bishan. This route is above the ground so we discount the interference we may encounter when we go into tunnels. I traveled this route at night and there were countless occasions where my iPhone 4S dropped back into EDGE (non-3G) throughout the journey. When it was on 3G, there were several occasions that it could not even load a simple page like Google.

Is that called 99% 3G coverage? I seriously wonder how they calculate the coverage. Just because there is a base station covering that area doesn't mean that there is coverage. For example, if your base station can only support 200 users, but at any point in time there are 2000 users, is that considered full coverage? I thought Singapore is strong in mathematics.

If LTE is not fully covered in Singapore and we're paying a premium for it, what are we exactly paying for?

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