IDA fines telcos for not meeting outdoor coverage standards

Mobile users in Singapore have been lamenting about poor 3G reception and dropped calls for a while. A check by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has confirmed that all three telcos fell short of meeting outdoor coverage standards.

M1, SingTel Mobile and StarHub Mobile have been fined S$10,000 each for failing to comply with IDA’s Quality of Service (QoS) standard for nation-wide outdoor areas for 3G mobile telephone services.

The results of the joint survey showed that the nation-wide outdoor service coverage for all three mobile operators was below the QoS standard of at least 99 percent, even though they performed well in providing general mobile coverage. Their respective performances were weaker at newly included testing areas such as housing estates/town centres, outdoor recreational areas, and above ground MRT tracks.

IDA has decided to impose a financial penalty of $10,000 on each mobile operator for non-compliance with the QoS standard of at least 99 percent service coverage for the Nation-wide Outdoor Service Coverage indicator for the month of September 2012.

In its decision, IDA took into consideration that the more stringent QoS standard for outdoor service coverage was recently increased on April 1, and that the mobile operators’ non-compliance was primarily due to the inclusion of new testing areas accessible largely by foot only, which is a more stringent measurement compared to past tests that relied primarily on nation-wide drive tests.

“The service quality of 3G mobile telephone services has become increasingly important with increased usage of mobile telephone services by consumers. Mobile operators should strive to improve service quality for their customers. IDA will conduct the next set of tests in the first half of 2013 and expects the mobile operators to improve and comply with the Nation-wide Outdoor Service Coverage indicator,” said Aileen Chia, Deputy Director-General (Telecoms & Post) of IDA.