Brunei's Big Leap in Connectivity

Big leap in connectivity
on: May 02, 2017

THE rate of Brunei Darussalam’s mobile penetration grew by 11 per cent to 125.5 per cent in 2016, with the rate of mobile broadband penetration growing by 19 per cent to 121.2 per cent in the same year.

The country recorded an increase in mobile penetration at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 per cent between the years 2012 and 2016.

The figures were released by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) which said in a statement yesterday that the statistics show that connectivity remains a vital key to improve a nation’s economic outlook as well as one’s convenience and lifestyle.

“Connectivity is a key piece in Brunei Darussalam’s drive towards economic diversification and sustainable economic growth. Both locally and globally, the demand for connectivity and ever faster mobile data connection speeds is increasing, driven by the growing number of mobile subscribers who need faster networks in order to cater to bandwidth-hungry video and mobile app content,” the statement said.

The authority’s Quality of Service Code (QoS Code) standards comprise a series of indicators that AITI imposes on local telecommunications providers in order to ensure that mobile subscribers are able to enjoy the benefits of connectivity no matter where they are, AITI said.

“In general, the authority has found that the coverage of mobile services is at an acceptable level and where there are underserved areas, it will continue to work closely with local telecommunications providers to ensure infrastructure deployment and service coverage in these areas.

“Furthermore, the performance of mobile voice and mobile broadband services is also at acceptable levels, meeting and in some instances, exceeding the minimum standards set by the authority.”

The authority said it believes that the sharing of QoS related information is critical to enable consumers to make informed choices and safeguard their rights. It will also motivate local telecommunications providers to steer themselves towards optimal utilisation of resources to support the local demand for mobile connectivity, the statement added.

The authority said that since 2014, it has been focused on increasing the availability and enhancing the reliability of telecommunications services provided by local telecommunications providers. Among the steps taken includes compiling quarterly performance reporting by local cellular mobile providers, coupled with the Authority’s independent measurements.

The authority’s QoS Code was introduced on March 1, 2014 and aims to ensure the delivery of good and acceptable quality telecommunications services for all users.

This reinforces the fact that wide availability of reliable telecommunications services is one of the necessary ingredients for economic development. The QoS Code sets minimum quality standards for telecommunications services and allows local telecommunications providers to provide services at standards higher than that prescribed.

AITI said the latest information is based on independent tests conducted by the authority since the launch of the QoS Code. Performance measurements of GSM, 3G and LTE (4G) cellular services from 372 populated and housing areas in a period of three months were taken by analysing over one million samples to provide a respectable assessment of the overall quality of cellular mobile services in Brunei Darussalam.

The figure shows nation-wide mobile service coverage (a combination of GSM, 3G and LTE services) as a percentage of the population per district. These figures were derived from combining data from the QoS’s cellular signal tests and official data from the 2011 Population and Housing Census Reports released by the Department of Economic Planning and Development.

The majority of the underserved populated areas are rural. Telecommunications service providers face a number of challenges such as mountainous terrains, lack of commercial viability due to limited number of residents and the overall scattered distribution of the population in these areas. However, the authority and local telecommunications service providers will continue their collaborative efforts for rural area infrastructure deployment and service coverage, the AITI statement said.

The graph shows average measurements over each district.

Speech quality is measured on a scale of 0 to 5, where the higher the value, the better the quality. Speech quality measurement of at least three indicates acceptable levels.

Although there may be isolated incidents where the clarity of voice heard over the mobile device may be below desired level for some users however, generally speaking, speech quality nationwide is at acceptable levels.

Mobile broadband measurements here only focused on 3G and LTE networks. The average 3G download speed actually measured in each of the four districts for 3G networks range from 500kbps to 1.1Mbps. For example, in Brunei-Muara District, the average speed experience is from 600kbps to 800kbps. Other sources such as a popular third party measurement solution reported results of 22Mbps for average LTE download speed. The difference in download speeds between the districts may be an indication of network congestion; if there are more users in a particular area, the speed will be relatively slower than an area with less users.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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