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The experience of telecom users in Colombia in the spotlight

Published on May 15, 2019

The importance of empowering the user and the regulatory quality guarantees

  • Telecommunications regulators, in charge of regularly measuring the quality of service offered by operators, guarantee the compliance of regulations and the access to services with the highest standards

Since 2015, the Communications Regulation Commission of Colombia (CRC) measures the quality of fixed and mobile telecommunication services from the perception of users or quality of experience (QoE) supported by MedUX and NAE

As a result of this initiative, the CRC has been recently awarded for ensuring the compliance of the offered and received services, receiving an award for the "Quality of Service", an acknowledgment to the Good Practices and User Protection, granted in 2018 by Regulatel, the association formed by 23 telecommunications regulators of Latin America and Europe. 

This award certifies the efforts of CRC in measuring the quality of ICTs: "The information of these measurements allows the users to know what is the quality of the fixed and/or mobile services offered by the operators in each one of the municipalities. This allows them to know the characteristics of the services and make more informed decisions when hiring their services", explained Carlos Hugo Silva, Commissioner and Executive Director of the CRC. 

The usual mission of the telecommunications regulatory entities is to develop the regulations of the sector and to ensure their compliance. Among other objectives, regulators are usually responsible for protecting the rights of users, ensuring the quality of services and promoting positive competition in the market. 

To that effect, one of the key issues that some regulators try to monitor is the quality of service that citizens receive from their telecom providers. This translates into the empowerment of the end user in terms of decision taking when signing for telecommunications services, as well as when evaluating the service that the citizen has contracted and its correspondence with what the operator is offering. 

For these purposes, regulators choose neutral measurement and monitoring tools for fixed and mobile networks to obtain information on the quality of service offered to users. The CRC wanted to focus on the evaluation of the quality of the user experience in a novel way, obtaining the quality measurements from the user's point of view. To achieve this goal, the CRC has chosen MedUX, which thanks to its innovative technology is able to evaluate the user's quality of experience of fixed and mobile networks, always from the end user's perspective. For this project, MedUX has deployed a system to evaluate the networks of the five main mobile operators in the country (Movistar, Claro, Tigo, ETB and Avantel) and of the seven main competitors in the fixed network market (ETB, Movistar-Telefónica, Telmex, Une, DirecTV, Azteca and Claro). 

The MedUX ecosystem used by the CRC is based on devices that simulate the users' behavior and run tests to measure the performance of communications. For testing mobile services, series of vehicles traveling around five Colombian cities (Bogotá, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Medellín and Quibdó) have been used.  During periods of two months in a row, those vehicles have carried out tests using MedUX MOBILE measuring equipment, that simulates the behavior that a regular mobile user would have. 

To measure the experience of fixed communications, MedUX HOME measurement equipment has been installed in more than 385 homes in each city. MedUX HOME simulates real conditions to measure the quality of service. The CRC has been able to observe that the quality of service offered by Colombian operators has improved annually since the beginning of the measurements, with higher downloading speeds in fixed networks, up to 60% in 2018 in certain locations of the country (Medellín)

"The results for 2018 show a remarkable improvement in the quality of mobile services," said Carlos Lugo Silva, Commissioner and Executive Director of the CRC, referring to the improvement experienced in the quality of mobile lines. 

The measurements performed in mobile services demonstrate these improvements. In terms of download speed, it can be appreciated that Claro's mobile networks achieved the highest download speed in the city of Bogotá in 2018, reaching average speeds of 11 Mbps, above the average of the rest of operators (9.82 Mbps). Claro has also been the operator that has improved the most their network speed since 2016.  

Download speed for mobile services in Bogotá (Mbps)

   On another hand, the data obtained in the city of Bogotá regarding the web loading time of the mobile services shows very similar times for all the operators. However, Tigo is the operator that has the best load times and Éxito is the operator that has improved its times the most, moving from 13.3 seconds in 2017 to 6.4 seconds in 2018.  

Download time for mobile services in Bogotá (seconds) 

Fuente: CRC Colombia
Source: CRC Colombia

   A reduction in the loading time of mobile services can be observed in the measurements taken on the three social networks most used by users. Twitter is the social network that has reduced the load time the most, being also the fastest social network to load on mobile devices.  

Web loading time for mobile services in Bogota, for destination website

   "Furthermore, it can be demonstrated that these measurements contribute to the improvement of the quality of service, since they have motivated the operators to make additional efforts to improve their client's experience at the time of using the services", added Carlos Hugo Silva, Commissioner and Executive Director of the CRC. 

Through its measurements, the CRC has also been able to certify that fixed line services have been improved. According to the data obtained, the website loading time such as Google, Wikipedia and YouTube has been reduced, so users can now perceive a better experience while visiting them.  

Web loading time for fixed services in Bogota, for destination website

   In general, for fixed services, all the companies have improved successfully the download speed. However, ETB is also positioned in this parameter as the best company, offering download speeds of 9.3 Mbps, substantially improving the speed compared to previous years.  

Download speed for fixed services in Bogotá (Mbps)

MedUX technology has made available to the Colombian telecommunications regulator and the ISP in the country, a tool to analyze and improve the quality. This benefits users, who can now make informed decisions when it comes to contract telecom services. 

MedUX measures, analyzes and predicts in real time the Quality of Service of fixed and mobile telecom networks based on reliable data. This way, regulators can focus on checking the quality offered to end customers. Telecommunication operators also use MedUX to validate internally that they comply with regulatory requirements as well as that they are able to allocate resources to improve quality and the KPIs that most affect the quality offered to users. At the same time, operators can reduce costs and improve their value proposition, anticipating the problems of network performance and avoiding complaints in order to keep their customers satisfied. This way, users can access a quality assured service.

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