ProPakistani had proposed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to develop iOS and Android apps in order to gauge the quality of service provided by networks in Pakistan. While the regulatory authority has released its own Android app, it’s far from the quality one would expect and we look at exactly why.
PTA Speed Test App Review
The speed test app consists of only two screens. One is used for test information while the other one logs all of the tests performed using the app. In theory, this should suffice for a basic speed testing app, but that is not the case here as the app is incapable of adequately performing its core task, a speed test.
When you launch the app, you are asked to turn on location services by going to the phone’s Settings. Users can also cancel the request. Unfortunately, the app is incapable of turning on location services by itself.
The app does not mention the location of its testing server. When a user starts a test, the app does not respond for a few moments. When it does respond, the ping gets updated.
Ping times are always very high irrespective of whether you are on a Wi-Fi connection or using mobile data. It’s not hard to understand that either the server has a low bandwidth connection or the app puts out random numbers as ping times.
We were hoping a lot more from PTA
The download test also uses a very small file for speed tests. It’s amazing the developers did not realize that 4G connections can go over 10Mbps and small file will not work for such fast connections. Even on 2G, the results weren’t accurate. To top it off, the app displays two results for download speed and upload speed, which display different results after the same test.
The mess of an app follows that with random graphics for result outputs. Graphics related to the final result are completely random. You can get more bars for a 2G network than a 4G one.
When we move on to the second page, which displays a test log, the issues continue. The app fails to locate the device. It does mention the user’s network but other than that it’s completely useless. The location is provided as longitude and latitude coordinates and not as a name, making it redundant information. Names of locations should have been much more useful.
The app’s Play Store page states that the users can provide feedback to their respective operators after the test. In our testing, there was no such feature available in the app.
The “comprehensive” list of features mentioned at the app’s Play Store page include “Users can stop the ongoing test”. That’s it!
What Could Have Been Done Better
PTA recently released its QoS survey on network operators. There is no doubt that such surveys increase consumer awareness about the network operators and create a productive environment ensuring high standards in the telecom market.
However, PTA was advised to develop apps for smartphones, which can be employed by users to measure available internet speeds. The data, like network speed, area, signal strength, network downtime, and much more could be logged by the PTA in real-time.
This data collection process would be much more detailed as there’s a several-fold increase in the data sample that PTA can collect through such user tests.
As of now, PTA conducts physical survey with specialized hardware in just few cities out of the 250 which have 3G services and only once a year (or even less often). Having an app could solve this problem and get them real-time data, helping solve issues as soon as they occur.
The apps can also include special tests such as user experience, e.g. top website loading speed, performance ratios, video loading speeds, etc. Such apps are already available on the Play Store and Apple App Store and PTA developers can refer to these apps.
In addition to this, PTA could also be able to monitor quality of service provided by wireless and wired broadband providers. A more detailed guide has been covered here.
Had the app been developed by a novice developer, it would not have mattered. However, the app was developed by the PTA, an authority with billions of rupees in funds. It’s astounding to even think that they came up with such a useless app which does not even perform its basic functions properly.
We were hoping a lot more than this from PTA.