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Singapore Networks Fined for Missing 3G Network Quality Standards

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Singapore's telecoms regulator, the IDA says that it has found that all three of the country's mobile operators M1, SingTel Mobile and StarHub Mobile failed to comply with its Quality of Service (QoS) standard for nation wide outdoor areas for 3G mobile telephone services.

The QoS framework for 3G mobile services was revised in January 2012, with more stringent standards kicking in from April 2012 onwards. For example, the standard for outdoor coverage was raised from 95 percent to 99 percent, and included an expansion in testing areas. With the implementation of the new standards, IDA audited the mobile operators' networks from April to June 2012, and initiated a joint survey with all three mobile operators in September 2012.

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 S$10,000 on each mobile operator for non-compliance with the QoS standard 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 1 April 2012, 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.

Ms Aileen Chia, Deputy Director-General (Telecoms & Post) said, "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."

Under the revised QoS framework, operators may be subject to financial penalties of up to $50,000 for each instance of non-compliance for each indicator, which is an increase from the previous financial penalty of $5,000.

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Tags: ida  m1  singtel  starhub  Singapore