IDA Raises Quality of Service Standards for 3G Mobile Services to Improve Consumer Experience
Singapore, 30 January 2012 | For Immediate Release
Other Consumer Protection Measures for Mobile and Broadband Services Take Effect in 2012
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is raising the minimum quality of service (QoS) standards for 3G mobile services in phases with effect from 1 April 2012 so that consumers can benefit from better quality of 3G mobile services. This is the latest measure that IDA is putting in place to ensure a better mobile and broadband experience for consumers. Other consumer protection measures that will come into effect in 2012 include the barring of Premium Rate Services (PRS), limiting of data roaming charges and publication of typical broadband speeds.
The enhanced 3G mobile QoS framework includes more stringent standards for 3G mobile service coverage in the following areas:
- Nationwide outdoor areas (to more than 99 per cent from more than 95 per cent previously)
- road and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) tunnels (to more than 99 per cent from more than 95 per cent for new tunnels) and
- within buildings (more than 85 per cent coverage within each building).
Minimum standards have also been set for peak hour success call rates and drop call rates for mobile calls, indicators that were previously only monitored by IDA. For example, the average monthly success rate for PSTN/mobile originated calls across all cell locations has been raised from more than 95 per cent to more than 99 per cent. For drop call rate of PSTN and mobile originated calls, the average monthly drop call rate across an entire month has been reduced from less than 5 per cent to less than 1 per cent. Under the revised framework, operators may be subject to financial penalties of up to $50,000 for each instance of non-compliance of these new QoS standards, an increase from the previous financial penalty of $5,000.
Mr Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms & Post) of IDA explained, "Singapore has one of the world's highest mobile phone services adoption rate. Today, mobile phone services have become indispensable and consumers' expectation for good mobile coverage in Singapore has increased, especially with the increasing use of data-intensive smartphones. The revised 3G mobile QoS standards thus seek to improve consumers' mobile service experience within technical constraints of wireless technology."
In reviewing the 3G mobile QoS standards, IDA took into consideration the nature of mobile/wireless technology where there could still be areas where it will be technically difficult for mobile signals to penetrate, e.g., due to location of users or surrounding building structures. For buildings or homes with poor coverage, the operators are required to take reasonable efforts to address these issues. In some cases, operators may need to install dedicated equipment within units and/or building premises.
The enhanced 3G mobile services QoS framework will take effect in two phases to allow time for the operators to step up their resources, measure their performance under the new framework, and upgrade their networks. The new standards for nation-wide outdoor service coverage, tunnel service coverage, peak hour success call rates and drop call rates will come into effect first, from 1 April 2012. The in-building QoS standards will come into effect from 1 April 2013.
Other consumer protection measures that IDA announced earlier will also take effect in 2012. These include the following:
Barring of Premium Rate Services (PRS)
- From 1 February 2012, consumers will be able to activate a service to bar PRS, which are mobile content services such as ringtone/game downloads, quiz services, news services, chatlines, etc. PRS are usually subscribed (and un-subscribed) via SMS sent to a shortcode 7XXXX. The aim is to protect consumers (especially children) from activating chargeable mobile content services.
- Consumers who want to subscribe to PRS are reminded to read and fully understand the service price, and terms and conditions before subscribing to any PRS. Parents who provide their children with mobile phones should educate them that such services may incur additional charges. They should also look out for reminder SMS messages highlighting charges payable, and how to unsubscribe.
Limiting of Data Roaming Charges
- From 1 February 2012, consumers will have access to a service to suspend data roaming service when the data roaming charges reach a maximum of $100 every month. Consumers will also be able to deactivate/reactivate data roaming more easily.
- The aim of the Data Roaming Bill Cap service is to minimise data roaming bill shock for users from data roaming services.
Publication of Typical Broadband Speeds
- From 1 April 2012, consumers can look forward to more information when choosing a broadband plan, as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) providing fixed and mobile broadband services will publish information on typical download speeds consumers are likely to experience, on top of the theoretical maximum speeds they are currently publishing. This information will be published on the ISPs' websites and other advertising materials.
- This requirement is intended to provide more transparency on the broadband speeds so that consumers can make better decisions when choosing a broadband plan which best meets their needs.
- Consumers are advised to take note that there are many factors affecting the broadband speeds which could be beyond the ISPs' control, such as the capability of the equipment used by the end-user, the location of websites being accessed, the bandwidth provided by the website administrator, and the types of applications used.
For more information, please refer to the Annexes and www.ida.gov.sg.
ISSUED BY THE INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more news and information, visit www.ida.gov.sg.
CHIA Wan Fen (Ms)
Sheo S. Rai (Mr)
Manager, Corporate and Marketing Communication
Assistant Director, Corporate and Marketing Communication