• Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

Enextgen Wireless Urges NCC to Hold MNOs Responsible for Poor Quality LTE Services

ByTecheconomy

Feb 11, 2022
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Read Time:5 Minute, 20 Second

Enextgen Wireless, an engineering company that focuses on improving user experience on Mobile Broadband Wireless Communications, has called on the telecommunications regulator in Nigeria to up its game with regards monitoring the quality of Long-Term Evolution (LTE) Networks deployed by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in Nigeria.

This is as the independent broadband quality monitoring company has called on MTN, the largest telecommunications, in terms of subscriber base, to improve on critical areas of its network services across the country.

Enextgen Wireless has been providing consumer experience on mobile networks through its flagship National Independent Wireless Broadband Quality Reporting (NIWBQR) which measures the quality of effort in Radio Frequency engineering invested in commercial LTE network.

In the latest report which focuses on MTN Nigeria LTE network, Enextgen Wireless reported that all of the areas covered are major population centers, not some uninhabited areas where poor coverage quality might be expected.

Report Details:

Poor service quality in many areas on a typical day

Enextgen Wireless - Poor Network service across

On January 31, 2022, poor service quality is shown by many of our probes.

Locations of poor service quality:

Port Harcourt (River State); Egbeda in Lagos; Yaba in Lagos and Kaduna

Quality issues at No. 1 Harvey Road, Yaba – Average latency plot

Quality Issues at No 1 harvey Road

Garbled voice and many reconnections during  Microsoft Teams voice call sessions. Delayed delivery of IM messages. Unbearable video conference quality.

“This is typical of the quality of the service that MTN provides in Yaba. It is nearly unimaginable to go for 30 minutes on MTN LTE network without noticeable disruption to the quality of the network.

“We have traced these disruptions to increased packet latencies and loss due, occasionally, to poor RF quality but mainly core network issues. These are all problems that MTN could resolve or, at least, mitigate, if it felt it necessary to.

Adelphi, Maryland in poorer RF condition than the one in the last slide for MTN in Yaba, Lagos – Average latency plot in Verizon Wireless

Enextgen Wireless - Adelphine, maryland

We used similar probe and the same platform as used for MTN in Yaba to generate this plot.

Verizon Wireless has only 4G LTE coverage (no 5G) at this location.

Average RSRP in Verizon Wireless at this location was about -110 dBm while average RSRP at the Yaba location in MTN was about -105 dBm and this was the worst performance period of the day at this location in Verizon Wireless that is not relied upon for internet access.

Typical average latency plot in Verizon Wireless 4G LTE at the same location as previous slide

Typical Average Latency

We used similar probe and the same platform as used for MTN in Yaba to generate this plot.

RF quality in bins where packet latency was higher than 250 ms on January 31, 2022

Enextgen Wireless

In this example poor user experience was not due to the quality of the Radio Frequency signal, as each of the bins had high-enough RF quality for good user experience.

In other words, core network issues such as congestion, or insufficient transport layer provisioning are more likely to have been the causes of the poor quality of service.

Feb 1, 2022 Quality issues in Yaba – Average latency plot

Feb 1, 20222

Feb 2, 2022 Quality issues in Yaba – Average latency plot

Enextgen Wireless - Feb 2, 20222

Feb 3, 2022 Quality issues in Yaba – Average latency plot

Enextgen Wireless - Feb 3, 20222

Feb 4, 2022 Quality issues in Yaba – Average latency plot

Enextgen Wireless - Feb 4, 20222 

Quality issues in Yaba, Lagos – Packet loss

Quality Issues in Yaba, Lagos - Packet Loss

Huge quantities of packet loss made for extremely poor quality of service at this location.

Quality issues in Kaduna – Packet loss

Quality Issues in Kaduna - Packet Loss

Quality issues in Ilorin – Ping-pong between LTE and 3G

Quality Issues in Ilorin - Packet Loss

RF was of high-enough quality to keep UE in LTE. In the alternative, the UE could simply be kept in 3G. Instead, the UE switched frequently between LTE and 3G making the connection completely worthless.

With any amount of care, MTN could avoid this situation by keeping the UE on one of the two networks. This is typically called RF Optimization. For Ilorin basic pre-deployment RF optimization appears lacking.

Quality issues in Ilorin – RF Link Failures reflecting very poor pre-deployment RF optimization

Quality Issues in Ilorin - RF

The MTN 4G LTE network in Ilorin appears to be a case of even perfunctory pre-deployment optimization not being done.

How could this have happened? Could MTN be getting its clue from our government? We understand that the regulatory agency is very busy. We are doing our very best to encourage network operators not to take all the advantages our system afford them at the expense of the ordinary human Nigerians and small enterprises at once.

Quality issues in Port Harcourt – Unnecessary IRATs from LTE to 3G

Quality Issues in Port Harcourt - Unnecessary IRATs

Good RF quality in LTE. Unnecessary IRATs to 3G contribute to poor quality of service

Poor service quality in many areas on February 3, 2022

Poor Network service in many areas Feb 3

Commenting on the report, Engineer Aderemi Adeyeye, President of Enext Inc., said:

“When we lodged complaint with MTN, the speed of response was impressive. However as far as we could tell MTN did not take any action beyond letting us know, the next day, they fixed the problem. We have not received any answer to the question of what problem they fixed and/or what they did to fix that problem. All we know is that the issues we reported on persist.

“Honestly, MTN’s paternalistic attitude in response to our complaint boggled our minds.

“MTN appears to be answerable only to MTN. The public being served (at least ordinary Nigerians and small enterprises) has no voice. The regulatory agency seems to have little time to spare for quality monitoring given the enormous amount of time needed for self-adulation. It doesn’t even acknowledge (on its website) the existence of LTE as a 3GPP standard for 4G.

“The reality of the Nigerian context is that broadband internet access is synonymous with LTE internet access.

“The bulk of Nigerians do not have any other access to real internet (we are discounting 2G/3G as means of broadband internet access).

“We welcome specific request for our raw data from MTN if for the purpose of improving the quality issues identified in this report.

“The objective is to entice MTN to improve the quality of its network. We just like millions of other Nigerian individuals and small enterprises rely on the network for broadband internet connection”.

To visualize the quality of 4G LTE coverage in Nigeria, visit the website HERE. Enextgen Wireless is constantly adding probes to cover more areas.

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