Mark Goldberg


Network experience

In the recent CRTC hearing on the Wireless Code of Conduct, one of the recurring issues discussed was buyer’s remorse: can a customer change their mind after signing up and what is a reasonable period for doing so.

Carrying a title like “Telecom Consultant”, people have been known to ask me which cellphone company they should use. For the record, my brother sometimes calls me from his car asking me to look up a phone number for him, so you could say that I provide a full range of advisory services.

My response to the question of which provider is usually along the lines of “shop around” and “be sure to test drive them.” We all have different patterns of use and patterns of mobility. You want to find out if the carrier has coverage in your home and on your ride to work.

TELUS Network Experience AppI was intrigued with yesterday’s announcement by TELUS that they have developed a Network Experience App for iOS, Android and Blackberry (5) platforms. Support for Windows Phone and BB10 is under development.

The app is designed to let customers report network issues such as: dropped calls, failed call attempts, no service, poor voice quality or slow data speeds. The app records GPS location and tower information, as well as signal strength and other network information to help TELUS identify the network elements that were serving the call when it was dropped or experiencing poor audio quality. All of this is to help identify where network enhancements need to be made. If the customer doesn’t have a network connection and is trying to report it, the app will store the report and automatically send it once the connection is restored. TELUS says that no customer identifiers are recorded.

My son enjoys when I use this blog to talk about the early days of my career. Well, back in the olden days, about twenty years ago, when we still had analog mobile phones and installed car kits, there was a bad hole in my mobile provider’s network near my old home. I would drop calls every time going through the main intersection and I could not convince the call centre folks there was a problem. We were friends with an executive at the carrier and I would kvetch to him, or his EA, or his staff nearly every time. I would be assured that the engineers checked it and it must be the way my car antenna was hooked up, or a foil wrapper on the phone or some other excuse.

That game continued until one weekend when he was driving over to my house and he dropped a call in the same spot that I had been telling him about. The network engineers got it fixed on Monday.

If only we had this app back then.

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