A total of 92 districts in Greater-Accra, Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Northern regions were tested for coverage strength, call congestion rate, call drops rate, call set up time, call completion rate and call audio quality.
On the data side, drive through tests were run for data access success rate, data drop rate and data throughput (speed).
Per the NCA’s scoring, 4.1 to 5 is excellent, 3.5 to 4.1 is good; 2.5 to 3.5 is fair and 1 to 2.5 is scored poor.
All the telcos made overall Fair rating but the actual scores showed, AirtelTigo was ahead of the others.
In the Ashanti Region, two districts were measured; Tigo made the highest score of 3.42 while Airtel complemented that with a 3.33 score to put AirtelTigo ahead of the game.
AirtelTigo’s strong showing in that region was boosted by Tigo’s 70% Good rating and Airtel’s 53% Good rating. Only the two crossed the 50% Good rating mark.
Vodafone came in next with a 3.35 overall score, then market leader MTN also made a 3.21 score while Glo also made a 3.1 score.
In Accra, 16 districts were involved and Airtel, MTN and Glo scored 3.15 each, Tigo scored 3.01, whole Vodafone scored 2.98.
Twenty-six districts were measured in the Eastern Region, and Vodafone topped with 3.76, followed by Tigo with 3.54, then MTN with 3.37, Airtel with 3.25, and there no score for Glo.
In the Western Region, tests were done in 22 districts; Tigo came tops with 3.46; Vodafone followed with a 3.32, followed by MTN with a 3.19 score, and Airtel in with 2.69. Again, Glo had no score.
Finally, in the Northern, tests were done in 26 districts; Airtel topped with 3.79, followed by Vodafone with a 3.62 score; then MTN with 3.05; then Tigo with 2.95 score; nothing for Glo.
But in the per district rankings, it was Vodafone which was ranked number one in 47 districts, which is the highest, while AirtelTigo followed with number one rankings in 37 districts.
But AirtelTigo was ranked number two in 42 districts, while Vodafone ranked second best in some 29 districts.
In total, AirtelTigo ranked top 2 in 79 districts, while Vodafone ranked top 2 in 76.
Meanwhile, market leaders MTN ranked top in only six districts, second in 13 districts, third in 63 and fourth in the rest.
Glo trailed with no records in several of the districts and third or fourth ranking in just a few.
AirtelTigo Chief Technical Officer, Amir Abdelazim said the company believes the fundamental way of human interaction is verbal communication, and although data was critical to its customers, they continue to invest heavily into improving voice quality because it is equally important.
“AirtelTigo is partnering with world class’s class suppliers to ensure superior performance. Also through the consolidation of the Airtel and Tigo networks, the coverage will increase significantly as well as customer call and data quality experience,” he added.
MTN said in a statement it believes its network is doing well because it has deployed high definition (HD) voice service, which is now live on its 3G network across the country.
The statement signed by MTN Ghana Chief Technical Officer, Mohammed Rufai said the company has earmarked US$144 million this year for network improvement alone.
Per what accounted for challenges telcos face in some districts, Airtel and Tigo informed the NCA that multiple fibre cuts were the main challenges which disrupted service and sometimes hindered them from meeting the stated KPIs.
Glo indicated that they require new sites to improve coverage especially in newly developing areas and will work to address this. They also submitted that some coverage issues were due to site outage and will focus on improving site availability.
MTN indicated that their three main challenges had to do with Site Acquisition, Fibre Cuts and Permitting challenges. In a few instances, they reported neighbourhood agitation with regards to the sites under constructions.
Vodafone simply said they will work closely with the Authority to rectify gaps identified.
Meanwhile, experts say while telcos continue to invest to improve network quality, it was also important to have compatible handheld devices that can communicate with technologies like the HD voice service in order for customers to derive the benefits.