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Smartphone types frustrate mobile network experience

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For improved network experience, the type of smartphone being used matters, a new survey has revealed.

OpenSignal, a United Kingdom-based mobile analytics company, which surveyed 73 countries including Nigeria, discovered that all smartphones are not created equal. It informed that just as different smartphones offer a variety of camera qualities or screen sizes, they also differ in the network communication features, which enable faster download speeds and smoother video streaming.

In the report titled: “How the Smartphone affects Mobile Network Experience,” which was made available to The Guardian yesterday, OpenSignal said  newer and more expensive smartphone models usually support more network capabilities such as newer versions of the 4G standard, and in a few cases, even 5G.

It stressed that consumers with less-capable smartphones will not be able to enjoy the best mobile network experience that their mobile operator provides.

Checks by The Guardian showed that Sub-Saharan Africa’s smartphone penetration stands at 33 per cent as at end of 2018, significantly higher than the 15 per cent recorded in 2014, and market analysts predict this will double by 2025. South Africa has 51 per cent smartphone penetration which contributes to the country’s online figures.

Five countries have less than 40 per cent penetration: Ghana (35 per cent), Senegal (34 per cent), Nigeria (32 per cent), Kenya (30 per cent) and Tanzania (13 per cent).

The OpenSignal report said the handset network technologies which can affect the network experience include: the ability to connect to more frequency bands (though with over 40 4G bands in use, even industry veterans often struggle to keep track of the importance of every one); the ability to connect to more than one radio band at once –called carrier aggregation; technologies that improve the performance on any given radio frequency such as the modulation type (e.g. 64 or 256 QAM) and the use of multiple simultaneous antennas (e.g. 2×2 or 4×4 MIMO), and the choice of modem supplier and chipset (for example, Qualcomm, Intel, Huawei HiSilicon, Samsung Exynos or Mediatek).

Earlier in the year, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, warned that using non-type approved handsets and other devices has implications on the quality of telecom services.


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