Telco TPG Telecom has vowed to improve its network service ahead of its impending commercial launch, after a study out yesterday showed its download speeds and network coverage to be lagging behind rivals Singtel, StarHub and M1.
TPG general manager Richard Tan said the company is still in its trial phase and has not enabled all network features or completed overall network optimisation.
"We are confident on improving the results as we move closer to commercial launch," added Mr Tan.
TPG started its free 12-month service trial last December and is expected to launch commercial services later this year. About 200,000 users joined the trial.
Its average download speed from February to May was 26.1Mbps, significantly slower than Singtel (42.5Mbps), StarHub (39.5Mbps) and M1 (36.1Mbps), the study by international mobile analytics firm Opensignal found.
Its upload speed of 5.1Mbps also trailed its rivals by some distance, with M1 at 13.4Mbps, Singtel at 12.7Mbps and StarHub at 12.4Mbps.
But the biggest difference, the study noted, was in the time customers spend without a mobile signal. TPG users were found to have spent 4.5 per cent of the time without a signal compared with Singtel's 1 per cent, StarHub's 1.2 per cent and M1's 1.6 per cent.
The 4.5 per cent figure might seem small, but that is without factoring in how most people spend a large part of their time at home or at work, where they are likely to enjoy good network coverage, said Opensignal vice-president of analysis Ian Fogg.
"These small differences will be considerably more significant when users are moving around Singapore, especially on the MRT, where users are accustomed to good mobile service," he added.
But TPG did match the other three telcos in mobile video-streaming experiences, which "shows that no operator in Singapore can afford to be complacent", Mr Fogg noted.
TPG user Davin Tan, 28, said he has experienced spotty network coverage when on the MRT and in some residential areas.
"I often have to download files on the go for work too, so slower download speeds will hold me back a bit," said the IT support engineer.
"As a free service on trial, that's OK, but not as a paid service."
TPG won the licence to be Singapore's fourth telco in 2016.