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NTA publishes full drive test report for the first time in Nepal

NTA, the regulator in telecommunication sector of Nepal has published drive test report for the first time. The drive test (DT) includes the testing of three mobile operators namely: Ntc, Ncell, and Smart. Here is the full report and statistics of the Drive test report for mobile network quality (voice and internet data) in Nepal.

NTA performed the drive-test in the major areas of Kathmandu (inside ringroad) which includes Kamaladi, Putalisadak, Tripureshwor, Newroad, Ratnapark, Thamel, Baneshwor, Dillibazar, Naxal and more. They performed drive test in the peak busy hours (in morning and evening) for the period of Ashoj 11 to 25.

What is Drive test?

Drive test is a means of collecting mobile network information data using a computer software and mobile handset. As the tester with the computer software moves on a vehicle, data collection happens along the route. Drive test collects data such as mobile network coverage, capacity, and quality at that instant of time, for the whole route.

The telcos use Drive test to maintain their network before they make the commercial launch of their network. They also perform the test on a regular basis and for complaints from their customers. Although the mobile operators use drive test to identify their problems and solve, regulators also perform the drive test to compare the network quality of different operators.

Some independent bodies may also assess the mobile network quality for benchmarking purpose. NTA has already put the Quality guidelines into effect from last year. They also have the provision to penalize the telcos if they could not solve the identified problems in some period.

Drive test only tells us the mobile network quality of the telcos at that very point. The quality of the network may be different in the locations other than those where the test was performed.

Drive test report

NTA had performed the drive test on the major routes of Kathmandu inside ring road section. The collected data from Drive test are analyzed to give a report which is called Drive test report. Based on the NTA DT report, we already published a news for Ntc to have the best mobile network quality. The mobile call service test based on 4 benchmarks (as described earlier) showed NTC to be superior among three telcos.

Whereas for data service, the Smart Telecom network is found to be superior. The ping round trip time, HTTP browsing display delay, browsing display success rate shows a better result in Ncell. Whereas other parameters are better in Smart Telecom network.

Among the parameters, FTP download/upload success rate and the upload/download speed are the best with Smart SIM card. As per NTA test result, Smart’s previous claim of fastest internet in Nepal holds true. Their upload and download speeds are far superior to Ncell and Ntc.

This is the first time, NTA has published such KPI statistics of drive test, comparing mobile network of the top three telcos. This is a good start and we can expect them to publish such a report every quarter. First, it will help people to have a feeling of the mobile network quality of the telcos. Secondly, it will also pressurize the telcos to maintain their mobile network quality, for the fear of penalty or their brand image.

Please tell us about your idea of this latest NTA work for Drive test. What should NTA do more in order to bring the good quality mobile network to people?

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