Friday, December 03, 2010

Singapore - Users complain that mobile broadband is too slow, despite operator upgrades to networks

[asia one] SINGAPOREANS have long complained about not getting advertised fixed-line broadband speeds.

And most of them also have issues with surfing the Internet when on the go too, a survey revealed yesterday.

About eight in 10 Singaporeans polled said that they face issues with the quality of their mobile- broadband experience on cellphones and notebooks.

Slow speeds were the main gripe, with nearly seven in 10 saying so.

It was also the top reason for six in 10 to cancel their contracts or switch carriers.

Acision, a British mobile data- solutions provider, commissioned French research firm Toluna to do the survey. It polled 1,000 Singaporeans last month.

While Singapore's mobile broadband results were quite similar to those for Britain and the United States, Mr Arie Baak, director for product marketing at Acision, said the findings are surprising.

He said the mobile-broadband experience here is expected to be better than that in Britain or the US, because of factors such as the country's high investments in network infrastructure and the widespread availability of free Wi-Fi.

Mr Baak said Singapore's results could be due in part to the telcos drumming up hype on mobile broadband, leading to elevated expectations on the part of consumers.

But as more people subscribe to mobile broadband, network congestion rises, which leads to a complaints surge and, ultimately, customer dissatisfaction.

Singaporeans surveyed complained about video-streaming speeds while on their mobile devices, saying that videos tended to pause frequently.

They also faced issues with having a stable Internet connection while accessing online content or services.

Mr Baak said telcos could be more upfront about mobilebroadband speeds, and be transparent about how they control speeds of bandwidth-hogging activities.

Nearly a third of consumers polled here would even pay for some kind of notification system, he said.

For example, consumers would welcome a notification system that would let them know if they were logging on to networks during a time when the network was slow.

An M1 spokesman said that "mobile-broadband speeds can be affected by a combination of factors, including device or equipment used, environmental and atmospheric conditions, and types of applications being run".

He added that the firm is "constantly looking at enhancing our network to ensure a good experience for our mobilebroadband customers".

A SingTel spokesman said the telco is "continually enhancing its mobile coverage, quality and broadband speeds, to meet the growing needs of our customers".

A StarHub spokesman said that with growing demand for mobile broadband, "it is important to ensure that the quality of experience is improved".

"That was one of the main reasons for our adoption of the world's first smartphone-signalling solution over our latest high-speed packet-access network. This can improve mobilebroadband connectivity."

Announced in July, the new solution is being progressively rolled out on StarHub's network, and is expected to be fully implemented by the end of the month.

Mobile broadband here 'too slow'

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