There’s a lot of mobile device information sharing going on these days, and unfortunately it all seems to go one direction – from our mobile devices to cellular network operators, cellular device vendors and app developers. Most businesses realize that in the smart phone universe, one of the tradeoffs of deploying GPS and social apps is releasing some personal and corporate information, especially in a BYOD environment. We often have little idea just how much information is being shared. Personally, I assume it’s everything and act accordingly.

But why aren’t we privy to some of the data that is being collected, especially as a corporate customer? Why are we still seeing the same billing statements that existed in the “feature phone” era: voice, SMS and data charges? What about real network coverage and performance? If the carriers are able to monitor device activity of a Smartphone, they are able to see the performance of their network. But there are no 50 Shades of any color from the carriers. It’s all red, orange or purple.

All you need to do is look at the ever-changing signal bars on your phone[i] to know that there are many shades of coverage. However, if you want to view the data regarding that coverage, you are going to need to deploy your own app because the carriers don’t share this information, not even with corporate customers.

There are several apps that show you coverage by geography via crowd sourcing, Root Wireless, for instance. Unfortunately, details regarding when the samples were taken and type of device are not publicly available. While this information is valuable to consumers making carrier decisions for their primary location, as a corporation, what you really want to see is just your organization’s devices and how they are performing. Are you getting the advertised 4G performance on your new 4G devices? The answer is probably… sometimes. And what about a summary of data connections that were unable to transmit?

Mobile Pulse offers detailed performance reports of your organization’s device as part of their enterprise and government service. Details regarding performance, device type, device performance information and failures are viewed via corporate dashboards and monthly performance reports that can be part of contract negotiations.

Corporate dependence on mobile devices is rapidly growing. According to Cisco, traffic from enterprise mobile applications is expected to grow by 126% CAGR from 90 perabytes in 2009 to 3.6 exabytes per month by 2014. Hence, dependence on the mobile network, cellular and wifi is also increasing.

It’s time for mobile reciprocity, regarding network performance, device performance and coverage of your mobile network. It’s no surprise, there’s an App for that!


  • Use third party apps, like Root Wireless, Ookla and Mobile Pulse to track performance and validate carrier supplied coverage data.
  • Ask your carrier for detailed coverage maps where you have high mobile reliance.
  • It’s not a pipedream to consider SLA’s for wireless networks.

[i] Signal bars and their strength indicators are set by the device manufactures, not the carriers. Four bars can indicate different things on different brands of phones, even on the same network. So when your friend has more bars than you it likely means the rating system is different, but the signal strength is the same.