Congestion of Cellular Networks

Eid festival, flood, earthquake, national emergency or in case of any other public event, we have seen our cellular operators performing below average in terms of call connectivity and voice quality.

In case of traffic spikes, cellular subscribers face network congestion of mobile networks and most common user observations are:

  • Calls not connected (international and sometimes local calls as well like in peak hours)
  • Cellular Network not available
  • Local “Powered Off” tapes are running, while you call international numbers
  • You might also face “Powered Off” tapes running suddenly during the call.

PTA conducts Quality of Service Survey for Cellular Mobile Operators and results of 7th CMTO’s QoS survey were as following:

From these results, it’s obvious that Call completion Ratio is quite low, particularly for mobile operators having large scale subscriber base in PTA defined zones.

We know that PTA has issued show cause notices based on the survey results, however, masses still face network congestion issues, which are still attention requiring towards the improvement of network quality with network penetration.

Thousands of cell sites installed throughout the country may determine the reach of these operators however it can’t guarantee the quality of service. Maybe the race is about “Covering whole Pakistan & becoming largest network provider of Pakistan” instead of becoming “Best Quality Network of Pakistan”.

Moreover, as per experts, following are other reasons for network congestion:

  • Improper network planning
  • Showing favoritism for site acquisition instead keeping network optimization in mind
  • Low cost equipment selection, primarily due to low ARPUs
  • Bad maintenance
  • Power crisis, etc

This is a time when cellular operators must dig into network tweaking techniques such as:

  • Traffic Engineering.
  • Radio Resource Management Algorithms.
  • Congestion Control Systems for managing demands dynamically.
  • Artificial Intelligence for Network Traffic.

Final Thought:

Network overcrowding or mobbing is resource-sharing problem, which will upswing whenever resources are not enough to meet users demands. There are lot of other factors involved too, which may cause network congestion like Network traffic overload and list goes on!!

There may be some particular preliminary steps from PTA that needs to be completed by cell site installers before installing cell sites.

But PTA needs to get more focused on network traffic management rules and regulation for each cell site in designated area with definition of methods / techniques that must be applied to diminish such issues in future.