Home Your IT Mobility Optus now crowdsourcing network data
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Optus is taking an unusual route to improve its network, recruiting customers to give feedback about reception and speed.

The OptusNow mobile app for Android saw an update today that gathers information such as signal strength from customers, which is then passed on to Optus networks team.

"Networks are incredibly complex, so this app is designed to gain insight into network experience at an individual customer level, not just the average experience, Optus head of customer experience, Amanda Hutton said.

"No network is perfect, but with our customers’ help, we want to make the Optus mobile network the best in Australia. Through strong investment, smart partnerships and real feedback from customers, we’re well on our way to delivering this.

“As part of our commitment to giving customers the best network experience possible, we’re always looking for ways to improve. Our customers tell us network quality is one of the top reasons for choosing their telco, so understanding actual network experience and making improvements based on this are absolutely critical for us.”

According to Optus the app also doesn’t access any sensitive information about websites or apps that have been browsed.

Android users can join in by installing the OptusNow app for free in the Google Play store, available here.

The app joins a similar effort from CORTxT, known as MyMobileCoverage (or MMC), a free smartphone app that lets users view and record their mobile coverage on the go.

The app measures signal strength as well as successful calls, failed or dropped calls, loss of 3G and loss of call coverage, as well as data speed tests, allowing users to compare their own network coverage with others.

The app depicts a "realistic" map of what users can expect from their telcos, according to its Australasian representative David Griffiths.

"This information can be used to report problem areas to the carrier and ultimately help the consumer to decide which carrier is the best for them," Griffiths said.

"The data can even be viewed by the mobile carriers themselves via a subscription, allowing them to view realistic and valuable data from their users without having to conduct their own tests. They can also see details such as the coverage of a particular cell and where there has been a cluster of problem coverage."

MyMobileCoverage is available free for BlackBerry and Android, while an iPhone app is currently available in a ‘read-only’ stage where no data is collected, with a fully fledged version on the way. More info is available at the app's website here.

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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. He also writes for Junkee and Fasterlouder. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan

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