Mobile data speeds 'good enough'

Mobile data speeds 'good enough'

Mobile users are getting data download speeds good enough for general use, according to an official app that gauges users' real experience on 3G and 4G networks.

Data collected from 4,000 mobile users across the three local telcos from October last year to March this year shows that 4G speeds are typically between 5.1 Mbps and 42.4 Mbps, which the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said is good enough for social networking, video streaming and online gaming.

These speeds are about five times faster than data speeds over Singtel, StarHub and M1's older 3G networks.

The data was collected through an app, MyConnection SG, that IDA released to the public in October last year for both Apple iPhone and Android smartphone users.

These findings were announced yesterday at the opening of the week-long Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) trade show at Marina Bay Sands.

"The data collected through this pilot will increase the transparency of information to help consumers make informed choices on their mobile plans, and improve user experience," said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the event yesterday.

"MyConnection SG app is a model of how continuous improvement will help us achieve our smart nation vision."

IDA's findings also show that StarHub users experienced the greatest lag - of 53.5 milliseconds for 4G users and 258.4 milliseconds for 3G users - to reach a website or connect to an app on their smartphones.

M1 users experienced the least lag, at 35.4 milliseconds for 4G users and 99.9 milliseconds for 3G users.

Some users of the MyConnection SG app reported experiencing "blind spots" where they had no mobile connection.

IDA did not name the telcos which had the greatest number of blind spots, saying the information is being verified. Some of the blind spots, it said, were in Tampines.

They are still a sore point with some mobile users. Freelance writer Aaron Tan, 36, said he has limited voice connections at his home in Sengkang.

"When I am at home, my phone is also mostly connected to the older GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) network rather than 4G," he said.

Marketing manager Aaron Koh, 39, said the app should also measure dropped connections.

"I often game while commuting. My connection is almost always cut off while travelling between the Paya Lebar and Kallang train stations," he said.

IDA, which intends to publish its findings every six months, assured the public that personal data is not collected.

As part of Singapore's 10-year Infocomm Media Masterplan that will take the nation through 2025, the Government will also be exploring a "smart logistics" network.

This network involves the use of sensors in airports and seaports to provide real-time information on a shipment's exact location and environmental temperature, for instance.

"Smart logistics will provide a boost for smaller players by enabling interoperability across the supply chain," said Dr Yaacob.

He also announced that a transport app, which allows users to match public demand with private operators, will be launched next month.

The app, Beeline, is an effort between IDA and the Land Transport Authority

itham@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 3, 2015.
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