Ofcom targets Android users for crowdsourcing

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The regulator wants to gather data on mobile coverage, calls, broadband and user habits in the second phase of its research

Ofcom is inviting the UK’s 20 million Android smartphone users to take part in crowdsourced research to gather information about mobile coverage, reliability of voice calls, mobile broadband performance and users’ experiences and habits as the project enters its second phase.

The data, which is collated by independent telecoms project management and testing company P3, is intended to help users make more informed purchasing and upgrading decisions, and will be used to enhance mobile coverage maps and consumer research.

Data collected by a downloadable research app called Ofcom Mobile Research will measure and log app use, voice call reliability, signal strength, location and data speeds.

The data is anonymous, but it takes into consideration the user age group, gender, occupation, postcode and home broadband availability, and will be analysed and published in the first half of 2018.

It will include information on current network technology the phone is using, signal strength, time spent on the different network types (WiFi, 2G, 3G and 4G), maximum download speed over each wireless network type, dropped call ratio and network response time.

The app measures mobile and WiFi performance automatically without user intervention, but people can leave detailed feedback rate their feelings on the service, allowing for more detailed feedback. However, users can turn this function off at any time via the app menu should they wish.

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