Druk Speed Test App to oversee mobile quality service and complaints

Druk Speed Test App. (Pic: BICMA)


With the Bhutan Infocomm and Media Authority’s (BICMA) Druk Speed Test App, users may now voice their complaints about network connectivity and stability, while the authority looks to bolster the quality of services (QoS).

The app, which will likely be released within the next month, was created to assess Bhutan’s mobile service quality.

The authority has initiated developing mobile QoS apps that can be used for both measuring the quality of mobile services and function as a crowd-sourcing platform to enable the users to share their mobile network QoS results evidently with the authority.

Sonam Phuntsho, Head, Spectrum and Technology Division under BICMA said that with significant increase in the penetration of wireless data networks and increase in the usage of mobile devices, there is an increase in data consumption and demand for better QoS.

The authority notes that these changes have made it even more crucial to pay attention to the quality of mobile broadband services. “However, the lack of the required technical QoS monitoring devices has impacted the authority in carrying out effective monitoring services and thus, in ensuring QoS,” the statement read.

While interviewing officials from BICMA, Bhutan Times learnt that there was no evidence-based complaint reporting platform developed where mobile service users can share the mobile services QoS issues with evidence with the authority.

Therefore, it is crucial that BICMA demonstrates a need for a suitable platform for mobile broadband customers to know and report their complaints on the mobile QoS to the authority with evidence, as well as for the authority to have proper technical monitoring devices or applications.

The objective of the development of the App, according to BICMA, is to empower users to measure and report the observed mobile network QoS and share it with them.

Sonam Phuntsho said it will enable a regulator-public partnership in measuring and monitoring the mobile network quality in the country. The app will also help the public to carry out the measurement of mobile network QoS on their own and share the data to the authority evidently.

Along with that, they are aiming to bring transparency to users in knowing the subscribed mobile QoS in their location and make informed decisions. This will enable regulators to streamline and focus their QoS monitoring to the most affected areas and thus ensure effective utilization of available limited resources.

The Mobile QoS monitoring app would monitor and measure, and read the following network parameters of download throughput speed of cellular services (3G, 4G, 5G), upload throughput speed of cellular services (3G, 4G, 5G), latency, packet drop, location of testing mobile devices (geo-coordinates) and accordingly determine the location automatically among others.

It will also have device international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number and date and time of testing features.

With the app, these test measurement results will be displayed on the app as well as automatically sent to the log-server. Further it will be used to analyse the network performance in the respective locations by the officials.

Through the measurement data obtained, the authority can analyse and prioritise its field monitoring to the most affected areas thus optimally utilising the resources to the most affected areas.

Sonam further noted that when every citizen is empowered to monitor the mobile QoS at an individual level, it will definitely benefit the citizen and the country as a whole.

However, he said that although many such free apps are available on the internet, the data collected is not available for the authority to make specific policy and regulatory interventions. In fact, it is said the free app developers are monetizing on the data collected from our users while we are not even aware of such activities.

Sonam added, “We should also equip ourselves to collect critical information such as this for future planning purposes.”

The work to develop the App has been awarded at Nu 1.86 million and has been funded through the then Department of Information Technology and Telecom under the Ministry of Information and Communication which is now the Government Technology (GovtTech) Agency.

BICMA officials said the application programming interface (APIs) have also been completed with minor improvement still needed. The app had also been submitted to the App store and Play store platforms where the vendor has received certain feedback reports to be reviewed and corrected which will then be resubmitted to the Play Store and App Store.

After its launch, the BICMA will monitor the test measurement data and the progress of the app.