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Optus Android app keeps tabs on mobile network quality

An update to Optus' Android app now includes network monitoring tools to help the company keep tabs on how well its mobile network is functioning.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Optus is hoping to use the 300,000-plus customers who have downloaded and installed its OptusNow app to help gather information on the quality of its mobile network across Australia.

The updated app in the Google Play store now keeps track of signal strength and other network information, which is then passed on to the Optus network team to identify areas that are in need of upgrading, new equipment, or improved coverage to reduce the number of black spots across Australia.

The app will also determine problems with the mobile device itself.

The network data collection operates in the background of the app, and Optus has said that during installation or upgrading, customers will be notified that the app includes network data collection. Users can choose to turn it off.

The data is anonymised and is stored within Australia.

Optus' head of customer experience, Amanda Hutton, said that the idea behind the app update was to give the telco a better understanding of how its customers experience the network.

"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," she said in a statement.

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

The app is only currently available on Android, but an Optus spokesperson told ZDNet that the company is testing a version for iOS, with a view to have it launched on iOS 7. No other platforms have yet been announced.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has indicated that it is looking into how Australian mobile networks are performing, and it is understood that all of the major telecommunications companies are examining how to incorporate network performance tracking and reporting into their coverage maps or apps.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has also released an app allowing customers to log network issues.

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