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Ofcom launches crowdsourced project for better mobile phone services

Ofcom research project to feed into 2017 comparison of telecoms operators’ quality of service, and help meet the growing demand for more services.

Ofcom has launched an app for UK Android smartphone users to crowdsource a research project for better mobile phone services, as well as to understand how people use their mobile data services.

People are increasingly using their smartphones for diverse, demanding applications. As found in the 2016 Communications Market Report the smartphone has become the UK internet users' number one device, and with this years’ increased takeup of smartphones, 71% of all adults now own a smart phone and two-thirds of adults use their mobile to go online. Activities such as streaming music or video calls can put strain on mobile networks, and Ofcom wants to better understand how current trends are likely to affect future demands.

By downloading the Ofcom Mobile Research app, users can join a nationwide panel of volunteers who will help gather valuable information about mobile coverage, the reliability of voice calls, mobile broadband performance and users’ experiences and habits.

The app automatically measures the performance of mobile and Wi-Fi networks; users don’t need to manually run any tests. The highlights of its findings will be displayed on the app’s home screen. From time-to-time, the user will be asked to briefly rate how well they feel their service is performing. Ofcom has commissioned P3 to provide the mobile research app, as well as to collect, store and process the test result data. Further information is available in Ofcom’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Ofcom’s research aims to build an independent benchmark for both consumers and industry to help mobile customers make purchasing and switching decisions, and will be used to enhance Ofcom’s mobile coverage maps and consumer research.

This work will feed into various Ofcom research projects, including a new study comparing telecoms operators’ quality of service in spring 2017. The information will also allow Ofcom to meet the growing demand for more services, such as understanding the apps people are using, and where and when they use them, will help Ofcom predict how much radio spectrum will be required in the future and plan accordingly.

Further information about techUK's Communications Infrastructure Programme is available. Please get in touch regarding our Communications Policy Council and UK Spectrum Policy Forum activities.

The UK Spectrum Policy Forum is a pro-active industry-led 'sounding board' to UK Government and Ofcom on future policy and approaches on spectrum and a cross-industry agent for promoting the role of spectrum in society and the maximisation of its economic and social value to the UK.

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