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Why does Opensignal do what they do and how do they do it?
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Why does Opensignal do what they do and how do they do it?

by Vyncent ChanSeptember 24, 2019
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Opensignal is a name you might have heard quite frequently of on Pokde.net. We frequently cite their data discussing about our local telcos’ performance, or lack thereof. We got the opportunity to interview Opensignal’s CEO and founder, Brendan Gill. Thankfully, he answered all our questions. For the full interview, you can watch it right here, while if you want a break down of his answers, you can read on down below:

Why is it important for Opensignal to be independent?

Opensignal prides themselves on being independent, and of course, that’s a very important thing given that they gauge service providers around the world. This is what Brendan Gill had to say:

“…we’ve laid down the principles by which we remain independent so that our data can be trusted. The reason that’s important is that by having this independent data out there that encourages competition and encourages improvements whereas in some places around the world, there can be false data that can be used, even things to the extent of calling them alternate truths it even fake news is something that happens and creates excuses and a reason to not make improvements.”

The following videos skip directly to his answers to each of the questions, just so you can hear his answer in further detail.

 How do you think 5G will affect the fiber-based ISPs? And what are the challenges will be faced by both sides?

As someone who has seen various claims from service providers and most probably debunked more than his fair share of them, he is understandably reserved when it comes to the next hyped up tech, 5G.

5G is an exciting development for the industry. It’s still a little way away from being a reality.

…one of the big challenges is ensuring that people understand the benefits that they’re gonna get personally from 5G and why it’s important for them to upgrade because they’ll need to buy new devices and pay for new subscriptions.

You can’t really have every 5G connectivity that you have, every cell tower that’s gonna be 5G is gonna need to be backed up by a fibre connection.

How does Opensignal gauge “Good Mobile Internet Experience”? What’s the benchmark? Is it an open competition of who does it better?

As you might know, Opensignal tests multiple aspects of service providers’ performance. Of course we had to find out what do they consider contributes to a Good Mobile Internet Experience. Here’s what he had to say:

The majority of traffic of mobile networks is video and to have a good video experience you don’t just need a good speed, there are other factors that impact the experience that you’re getting. So what we do about that is we measure them individually.

There isn’t just one set of benchmarks. We think it’s really important to measure the right thing and that’s looking at the real-world experience that people are getting.

What are the steps telcos take upon receiving Opensignal reports? What are the case studies that prove these analytics have made an impact?

Given that Opensignal evaluates telcos, this is somewhat of a natural question. This was Brendan Gill’s answer:

They can use our measurements to understand not just what their network looks like internally but actually the end-user experience.

One thing that’s not always clear is the actual full end to end experience that people get when they’re using their device so sometimes there’s a big focus on coverage. …part of what the operators would do will actually understand that and use our data to make improvements on that.

We make it [the data] available to the whole industry and by adding that transparency with this independent data from OpenSignal, that actually creates an environment of competition and an environment of improvements.

How does Opensignal go about their methodology in testing telco’s performance?

Brendan Gill has explained that Opensignal tests multiples things to evaluate a telco’s performance. And their main focus is of course what users get to experience. The goal is to explain it in a way that consumers would understand, and translate to their daily experience better.

Currently who is the best telco in Malaysia and who’s the worst?

Well I wish that was a simple question to answer!

Well, he said it. The reason why Opensignal looks at so many criteria is not to crown the best operator, he explained. It depends on what you need, and which operator delivers a better experience for your needs.

Based on your data, what would happen in the near future?

Having observed the latest developments in our local telcos, Brendan Gill says that there has been a lot of change recently here in Malaysia. The Malaysian government is also very ambitious to push things forward. He finds Malaysia “an exciting landscape”.

Hope we brought some insight about Opensignal! Do you guys have any questions that you guys would have wanted to ask the CEO of Opensignal?

About The Author
Vyncent Chan
Technology enthusiast, casual gamer, pharmacy graduate. Strongly opposes proprietary standards and always on the look out for incredible bang-for-buck.

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