Report on the examination of the GSM900/1800 and UMTS networks - UKE

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Report on the examination of the GSM900/1800 and UMTS networks

Measurement of the parameters of the network in voivodship cities and on the main routes between the cities.


We would also like to encourage you to take a look at the coverage maps. If you use the banner on the main webpage you could see the maps with the data from Warsaw, Katowice, Łódź, Olsztyn, Trójmiasto (Gdańsk, Gdynia, Sopot), Bydgoszcz, Białystok and Jelenia Góra. The results of the measurements from other cities will be systematically completed.
The examination was performed from 1 February until 26 March 2010 in the voivodship cities and it concerned mobile telephony networks working in GSM900/1800 and UMTS standards, of the following operators:

  • Polkomtel SA - Plus network operator,
  • Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa Sp. z o.o. - Era network operator,
  • Polska Telefonia Komórkowa Centertel Sp. z o.o. - Orange network operator,
  • P4 Sp. z o.o. - Play network operator.

Subject of the examination was:

  • the level of the received signals RxLev (dBm) for GSM900/1800 and Ec/Io (dB) for UMTS which determine the network coverage,
  • the level of the connection realisation, taking into consideration blocked and dropped connections (NQA),
  • perceptual assessment of speech quality (PESQ).

The telephones were working in the mode of automatic selection of the GSM900/1800 or UMTS network. The set-up calls lasted 60 sec. and consisted of telephone connections with the server connected to ISDN line within the network of the local telecommunications operator, on which certain voice phrases were played and after sending them through GSM900/1800 and UMTS network - compared with the reference recording. As the next step, measurement system automatically gave it the PESQ quality grade.
The measurements of the energy of the acquired symbol of the Ec/Io information and the measurements of the level of the RxLev signals were performed with the use of mobile phones, which were connecting with the server linked to the ISDN network of the local telecommunications operator while the car was moving through the town. The main assumption was to perform the examination in the city centres, where during rush hours is the biggest number of the users of the GSM900/1800 and UMTS networks.

The results of the quality assessment of the GSM900/1800 and UMTS networks for all of the cities






Number of calls made

41 074

53 476

45 974

46 164

Number of successful connections





Number of blocked connections





Number of dropped connections





No service





Service access time

4,22 s

3,36 s

3,04 s

4,02 s

Average PESQ value -- MOS





Number of samples below 2,7





The car in which the examination was performed travelled 4,617 km within the cities and the time of measurements was 182 hours. The gathered results of a few measurement sessions were combined and analysed while taking into consideration the coverage of the signal of the GSM900/1800 and UMTS mobile network, and the number of calls made.
The results of the examination, separate for each operator, were presented on the coverage maps and on the histograms.
The performed measurements and the examination of the GSM900/1800 and UMTS networks in all of the examined cities revealed that the operators of all of the networks have good coverage in the cities where UMTS is the dominating standard - almost 90%.
Whilst making calls in the mobile networks within the cities, the statistics of blocked and dropped connections in relation to successful connections was prepared. Blocking of connections was observed in networks of all operators. The highest values were registered in the Era and Play operators, in case of which only 1.9% of set-up calls were not successful. The network of the Orange operator  with this respect noted around 1.6% of blocked connections, while the Plus - around 0.9%. The biggest number of the blocked connections were noted by the Play operator in Zielona Góra, where more than 10% of connections were not successful. This could prove a serious breakdown of the network or a network capacity exhaustion

The blocking of the connections on the level above 3% were registered in the following cities:
1) Era - Kraków, Opole, Lublin, Jelenia Góra,
2) Orange - Rzeszów i Poznań,
3) Play - Zielona Góra i Szczecin,
4) Plus - such problems were not encountered.

The smallest number of blocked connections in the networks of all operators were noted within Trójmiasto and Kielce.
Whilst analysing the number of calls dropped within the cities, it could be observed that the highest values were noted in the network of Era operator (above 1%). In case of the Plus and Orange operators around 0.6% of dropped calls were noted. Play operator had the best results: around 0.5% of dropped calls were noted. The biggest number of dropped connections was noted in the network of Era operator in Poznań and Lublin, where it amounted up to 3%. The smallest number of dropped connections, as well as in the case of blocked connections, were noted in Kielce and Trójmiasto. In Trójmiasto only Era operator noted the number of dropped connections on the level of around 0.5%. The dropping of set-up calls may be a proof of problems with the phones switching from one standard to another, or with inappropriate switching between the base stations, the so-called handovers.
The measurements were also performed along the main routes where measured were: the levels of the RxLev (dBm) signals received by the mobile phones from the base stations working in the GSM900/1800 standard and the level of the Ec/Io signals in case of UMTS, and the quality of the connections were assessed according to PESQ MOS-LQO P862.1.
The car in which the examination was performed travelled 3,640 km and the time of measurements was 57 hours. Whilst making calls in the mobile networks, the statistics of blocked and dropped connections was prepared. The most blocked connections were registered in case of the Play operator, where around 8.6% of the calls were unsuccessful. The bad result may be caused by using the network of another operator. In the network of Era operator on the other hand, there was noted a high amount of unsuccessful connections - on the level above 3.2%.

Whilst analysing the number of dropped connections, the most of them were noted in the network of Era operator - above 3%.
The value of unsuccessful connections in mobile networks should not exceed 3%. Exceeding of this level may be an evidence of technical problems associated with the transfer of calls and switching the phone between base stations as well as the 2G and 3G standards. In case of the routes all of the operators exceeded the assumed threshold of 3% of unsuccessful connections. The best results with this regard had the Orange and Plus operators. Maps and diagrams presenting the quality of the connections within the network of each operator for all of the routes together.

Whilst examining the GSM900/1800 and UMTS mobile networks 41,074 calls were made within the network of Era operator, 53,476 within the network of Orange operator, 45 974 within the network of Play operator and 46,164 within the network of Plus operator. The analysis of the parameter of no service, resulting mainly from the lack of coverage or inability of the phone to switch from the 3G to 2G standard proves that the biggest problems appear within the Play network - around 0.3% of the attempts to set up a connection were not operated by the network. On the other hand, the Era network operator were not able to provide the operation for around 0.2% of the connections. Orange and Plus operators noted insignificant lack of provision of operation - on the level of 0.02% and 0.01% respectively. The worst results were noted within the network of Play operator in Kraków, where the operator did not serve more than 3.8% calls.

In case of the Service Access Time parameter, regarding the speed of the service provision, it has been stated that Play operator sets up calls within the shortest space of time - it is little bit longer than 3 sec. The second, with not much worse result of 3.36 sec., was the Orange operator. The remaining two operators have the time of setting up the call longer by one second.

Report is available in Polish.

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