T-Mobile’s new coverage map is based on customers’ real life experiences

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New T-Mobile Coverage Map Is Based On ‘Real-Time Customer Experience’.

NEW YORK — The major wireless carriers spend a bundle on advertising to convince you they have the best network or the widest coverage. T-Mobile’s newest coverage map paints a rosier picture of the network’s reach, part of its continuing efforts to steal more customers from its rivals. The T-Mobile blog says it’s incorporating “real-time customer usage” into its maps, which it argues gives a more accurate picture of what your experience would be like if you make the leap from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint.

It’s replacing the often outdated (and questionably accurate) coverage map with what it calls the industry’s first and only crowdsourced, customer-verified network coverage map. That said, the “Un-carrier” seems confident enough that it will keep improving that it’s letting users access a new coverage map that offers detailed information about where its network is strong and where it’s still weak. “T-Mobile’s new Next-Gen Network Map reflects near real-time customer experiences on our network — based on more than 200 million actual customer usage data points every day,” explains T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray. “On top of that — to validate and augment our own collected data — our new map also incorporates additional customer usage data from trusted third-party sources, including Inrix and others.” Among other things, Ray says that the map will include “customer-verified coverage based on actual customer usage” that will show you “exactly where you can expect 4G LTE, 4G, 3G or other levels of coverage.” This means that if you’re taking a trip out to a more rural area, you’ll know where you’re more likely to get good coverage and where you’re more likely to have slow data service. While not quite enough to warrant a full-fledged Un-carrier event, the new approach could still come in handy for both prospective and existing customers.

From T-Mobile’s perspective, the hope is that we’ll continually see improvements to the map as the year goes by as the company works to expand its LTE network’s reach to 300 million PoPs. It’s based on information gathered from users of the company’s network, along with information from third-party sources like Inrix, and offers people a live look at the state of T-Mobile’s network.

In addition to broad projections showing where the network is available, the map also included “verified coverage” areas based on where a majority of T-Mobile customers are able to get access to the network. T-Mobile’s chief technology officer Neville Ray explains that the carriers have been basing network maps on “predictive coverage estimations.” Now he says there are more advanced technologies for determining coverage — notably actual customer data. A Verified Coverage icon indicating where the majority of data is provided by T-Mobile customers reporting their actual network experience, providing an added layer of confidence.

The new map may encourage people to make a leap to T-Mobile, since they can now see what using the carrier’s network is like for other people in a similar area. Customers will be able to drill down to granular levels on the map to see if coverage is available and in many cases what kinds of speeds are available.

It didn’t offer other specifics about how it’s collecting such information from customers, only using general terminology like “customer verified.” The story behind the story: T-Mobile’s “un-carrier” branding is all about trying to set itself apart from its competitors. Data that’s updated twice monthly − compared to data presented on the carriers’ maps, which is already dated by the time it’s printed and published and may be months or even years old. It helps shore the company up against criticisms of its network coverage, which is one of T-Mobile’s weak points compared to its larger competition in AT&T and Verizon. The real debate today centers not around call reception but the speed of wireless data and in that respect, T-Mobile’s crowdsourced map is a fantastic idea.

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