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EE wants us to focus on ‘time on 4G’ as the main network metric

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UK operator EE has a rich history of trying to influence the way mobile networks are judged by the state and the public and this is its latest effort.

It’s actually part of a campaign EE CEO Marc Allera has been waging for over a year, kicked-off with an unsolicited Christmas letter he sent to his competitors. In it he announced his ‘clear on coverage’ initiative that urged the industry to shift from talking about population coverage – which is already close to 100% – to geographic coverage.

Now Allera wants to shift the goalposts once more, with ‘time on 4G’ – i.e. the proportion of the time a user spends connected via 4G, as opposed to older generations – as the definitive measure of how good a network is. Presumably Allera is confident that this metric will flatter EE.

“Our industry has to get better at giving customers the information they need to make an informed choice about the mobile network that best suits their needs,” said Allera. “I banned misleading population coverage measurements at EE a year ago, and we’ve seen real change since then. The fundamentally misleading claim of ‘99% coverage’ is very hard to find on mobile operators’ websites today.

“We are introducing new measurements today that will give us a more accurate view of our customers’ network experience than ever before. And we’re working with Ofcom to improve the quality of information that’s available to customers, as we share their ambition to improve transparency around network performance.”

The EE ‘time on 4G’ metric for an EE punter with 4G calling (VoLTE) enabled on their phone in an urban area is 96%, we’re told, falling as low as 79% in some rural areas and to 70% if 4G Calling isn’t enabled. 4G can be pretty moody on the train too, as this correspondent can confirm.

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One comment

  1. Olu 01/12/2017 @ 5:44 pm

    That’s well and good but what’s more important is that a customer is able to achieve whatever they set out to do using the network at any given point in time. A ‘time on 4G’ metric only shifts focus from the actual customer experience which is what networks should be measured on.

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