Stressed Mobile Networks Increasingly Dropping Connections

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Demand for data services is leading to increased failings on mobile networks according to recent research conducted by Actix. The number of dropped data sessions and voice calls has increased by 121 percent as data demand grows.

On average around 1 percent of voice and data calls fail on mobile networks however some locations deliver call failure rates of over 17 percent during periods of high network load.

Stressed mobile networks are exposing the variation in the quality of the network connections across handset brands, with the worst devices dropping, on average, more than 2.5 percent of all calls and data sessions. iPhones generally performed better than average on data and Blackberry devices were least likely to drop a voice call.

iPhone 3GS recorded the lowest percentage of dropped data sessions, followed by the iPhone 5 and 4s. The best voice performer was the Blackberry 9320, with the Galaxy range of devices (S2, S3, S3 mini and S4) dropping significantly more calls than competitors - in some cases up to 2.5 percent of all calls and data sessions.

97 percent of subscriber issues come from data sessions, demonstrating the growth in data hunger amongst subscribers. Dropped data sessions can be the result of a range of factors, including: subscriber location; network capacity and congestion; interference; and the handset itself, where the quality of the radio can impact on the subscriber experience.

Neil Coleman, Global Marketing Director, Actix says: "Handsets perform in different ways, not just because they have different components, such as the antenna and the radio, but also depending on how the mobile network is optimized. It is possible that if a network has been optimized for one particularly popular handset, other devices will experience an increase in dropped calls and slower data sessions."

Operators need access to real-time, geo-located data from the radio access network (RAN) to monitor handset performance on the network and understand why calls and data sessions are being interrupted. ActixOne's powerful customer experience analytics rapidly identifies poor device/network combinations and troubleshoots issues through network optimization or infrastructure rollout.

The research, conducted by Actix to understand more clearly the pressures on the Radio Access Network (RAN) - the critical part of the network that connects the mobile phone to the nearest antenna - analysed more than 100,000 devices being used on mobile networks during 2013. Actix recorded some 4,235,822 total data sessions as well as 85,452 voice and 56,712 combined voice and data sessions.

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