Globe and Smart fail dropped call test
MANILA, Philippines - If you had a phone call dropped recently, you’re probably not alone.
The country’s two largest Filipino telecommunications brands, Smart Communications Inc and Globe Telecom Inc both failed to meet the National Telecommunications Commission's (NTC) standard for dropped calls.
Dropped call rates appear to have worsened since the last time both networks were tested between April and June. Both passed it then.
In the latest September benchmarking test released on Tuesday, November 3, both were over the minimum standard of 2%, which means that out of every 100 calls, more than 2 were dropped.
Though the tests are not directly comparable though since the first was conducted over 3 months while the latest results only cover the last week of September.
Nevertheless, both failed this time around with Globe coming in with the slightly higher dropped call rate of 2.75% compared to Smart’s also substandard 2.15%.
Despite the single failing grade, both telcos passed in the other 4 areas measured by the test and greatly improved their blocked call rate or grade of service -- an area both failed last time.
Representatives of the NTC made over 2,189 test calls from a moving vehicle to see how the two telcos compared in Metro Manila.
Across all the 5 perameters measured, Smart scored higher this time prompting the company's executives to brag.
“This time the score is ‘5-0’,” said Smart public affairs head Ramon Isberto. "What these numbers mean is that Smart subscribers enjoy better-quality service. We are able to deliver superior voice, text, and data services even though we have the largest subscriber base.”
For its part, Globe focused on the improved grade of service in the networks and laid the blame for the high dropped call rate on illegal repeaters and jammers.
"There is marked improvement in our own grade of service, ease of calls getting through and signal strength which are early indications that the network improvements are happening because of our ongoing modernization," said Globe President Ernest Cu.
He was hopeful Globe would have the edge after it finishes a major revamp to its network. "While a good portion of our legacy network is still operational as these tests are being done, we are confident that we will achieve better results as soon as we approach completion of our brand new network. We expect to be ahead of our commitment of 70% completion by year-end 2012."
Have the telcos done enough?
The real question is if the telco's regulator will be satisfied with their results. Both companies are expected to submit written explanations on Monday, November 13, about why they failed the dropped call test.
NTC director Edgardo Cabarios threatened to impose sanctions on the firms if they did not show improvements.
“If there is continuous improvement noted in their networks then sanctions are not proper but if it keeps on deteriorating then there are two possible sanctions to be meted out,” said Cabarios when asked if the first were penalized for previously failing the grade of service test.
Sanctions could range from a fine of P200 per day or less until the violation is corrected or a sanction that would prevent either from adding new customers.
"Further action will be decided on by the commission based on the telcos' explanation due Monday," he said. - Rappler.com