Worsening wireless network quality problems in urban and rural areas

1642097033 Worsening wireless network quality problems in urban and rural areas

Residents of urban and rural communities had the highest number of network quality issues, according to a new JD Power study.

We all tend to complain about problems with the cellular service on our mobile phones - spotty connections, dead spots, slow performance.

Despite the fact that carriers have built their 4G infrastructure over the years, it is inevitable that you will encounter obstacles, sometimes and sometimes. And that usually depends on where you live or use your phone. A study published Thursday by analytics firm JD Power found differences in location-based network performance.

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Residents living in urban areas were plagued by the highest number of overall network quality problems, according to the US JD Power 2022 Wireless Network Quality Performance Study - Volume 1.

People in rural areas had the second highest number of network problems. With 5G being rolled out, the results are opening the door to regional challenges for major carriers, JD Power said.

"The network quality problems faced by wireless customers in urban, suburban and rural areas all require different solutions, given the uniqueness of their environments," said Ian. Greenblatt, managing director at JD Power, in a press release.

“Managing customer expectations for speed and reliability across these different levels will be critical as a consumer's view of distance on high bandwidth vs. low bandwidth will be very different, leading to high bandwidth experiences. -like, "Greenblatt said.

Most wireless users seem to expect significant improvements in network speed and performance with 5G networks and devices. But with the variability in network reliability across the country, carriers may need to reduce these expectations.

“Continued use of multi-level 5G strategies, delivering shorter broadband frequencies in dense urban settings and longer low bandwidth power in rural locations has the power to address these challenges, but only if providers will set these correctly. expectations against the reality of real 5G speeds in the world, "Greenblatt said.

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Of course, your cellular performance and reliability are also highly dependent on your carrier. Among the major carriers, Verizon Wireless emerged in the top six regions of the U.S. with the lowest number of network quality problems per 100 connections. In particular, Verizon was at the top of call quality, message quality, and data quality.

Beyond Verizon, results varied by region.

In the Mid-Atlantic, T-Mobile took second place behind Verizon, followed by AT&T and Sprint. In the North Central Region, US Cellular took second place, followed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. In the Northeast, AT&T was behind Verizon, followed by T-Mobile and Sprint.

In the southeast, T-Mobile replaced No. 2, with AT&T and Sprint behind it. In the South West, AT&T was in second place, followed by Sprint and T-Mobile. And in the West, T-Mobile took second place, followed by AT&T and Sprint.

JD Power

In an email exchange with TechRepublic, Ian Greenblatt, managing director of Technology, Media, and Telecom Intelligence at JD Power, answered questions about the study.

1) Why do you think urban and rural areas experience a higher number of cellular network quality problems than other areas?

I believe there are different reasons for each. Rural areas typically experience significantly higher levels of network quality problems due to less use / increased speeds to network infrastructure such as towers. This is driven by the ROI (return on investment) economy in terms of network usage, and essentially more of that infrastructure spending takes place in dense, urban metros. However, where reported network quality could be expected to be higher in these metros, the population of these areas tends to have higher expectations from their carriers, and thus remember and report that problems are higher than their rural peers. For this reason, it is critical for carriers to set expectations for upcoming 5G connections versus real-world performance, or to expect to see negative perceptions of network performance.

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2) Verizon Wireless consistently tops out in most reviews. What do you think Verizon is doing to achieve more reliable quality than other carriers?

Verizon will invest a very large amount of capital in infrastructure (2022 will see $ 17 to $ 18 billion in capital expenditure from Verizon, a 2-8% year-over-year increase) and spectrum, and will invest more than 1,400 one thousand miles of fiber per month. This level of near-term development and preparation for future traffic needs reflects Verizon's commitment to the quality and reliability of its network for its residential, business, and state / local / educational customers.

3) How do you think these decisions are due to the upcoming 5G rollout? Do you think 5G will help or hurt these kinds of network quality issues vs 4G?

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg is a game in the commercial media considering the importance of 5G and Verizon's commitment to being a leader in the space. This is reflected in the level of resource utilization that is committed to network congestion, and will essentially contribute to the overall network performance, both by enabling 5G services (loading some of the traffic from 4G and otherwise) as well as reducing speed. to available towers, increasing the reliability and quality of network connections.

4) Finally, if the Sprint / T-Mobile merger comes into being, how do you think the company would make a new merger as far as cellular network performance issues are concerned?

Each has excellent engineering bodies and a commitment to mission experience. As far as that knowledge of the use of the physical network goes, if successful, the combination will shine with the rollout of 5G, where the union of the two offerings will see a complete complement in spectrum as T-Mobile already in-. 600MHz market infrastructure and Sprint mid-band spectrum arsenal. This combination of infrastructure could lead to greater reliability and 5G speeds available to the entire messenger set.

JD Powers 2022 US Wireless Network Quality Performance Review - Book 1 is based on responses from 33,750 wireless customers. Carrier performance was examined in six regions: Mid-Atlantic, North-Central, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and West.

In addition to evaluating the quality of a network experienced by customers with wireless phones, the study measured the network performance of tablets and mobile broadband devices. This latest survey was conducted from July through December 2022.

This article was last updated on January 27, 2022.

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