Network use metrics: Good versus easy and why it matters

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Telcos and policymakers need new metrics to power evidence-based decisions. New tools and data sources can help build greater understanding and transparency in telecoms.


Format: PDF filePages: 81 pagesAuthor: Dean BubleyPublication Date: August 2023

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
    • Key recommendations
    • Next steps
  • Introduction
    • Key metrics overview
    • KPIs vs. metrics: What’s in a name?
    • Who uses telco metrics and why?
    • Data used in policy-making and regulation
    • Metrics and KPIs enshrined in standards
    • Why some stakeholders love “old” metrics
    • Granularity
  • Coverage, deployment and adoption
    • Mobile network coverage
    • Fixed network deployment/coverage
  • Usage, speed and traffic metrics
    • Voice minutes and messages
    • Data traffic volumes
    • Network latency
  • Financial metrics
    • Revenue and ARPU
    • Capex
  • Future trends and innovation in metrics
    • The impact of changing telecom industry structure
    • Why applications matter: FWA, AR/VR, P5G, V2X, etc
    • New sources of data and measurements
  • Conclusion and recommendations
    • Recommendations for regulators and policymakers
    • Recommendations for fixed and cable operators
    • Recommendations for mobile operators
    • Recommendations for telecoms vendors
    • Recommendations for content, cloud and application providers
    • Recommendations for investors and consultants
  • Appendix
    • Key historical metrics: Overview
    • How telecoms data is generated
  • Index

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Policymakers and regulators are exploiting more sources of data and analytical methods for granular and focused metrics
  • Figure 2: Easy vs. good metrics , aligning to policy goals
  • Figure 3: Impact of new sources of input and analysis on metric quality and detail
  • Figure 4: Types of internal KPIs found in major telcos
  • Figure 5: On-device data crowd sourcing methodology
  • Figure 6: Crowd-sourced data pros and cons
  • Figure 7: Cloud sourcing of metrics data from major technology companies
  • Figure 8: ITU usage scenarios and goals/metrics for IMT-2030 (6G mobile)
  • Figure 9: ARCEP published 5G sites per MNO and frequency ranges
  • Figure 10: 5G coverage is sometimes being reported by frequency band
  • Figure 11: Fixed-line connections with phone service, worldwide, 1960-2021
  • Figure 12: Broadband fixed subscribers, worldwide, 2021-2023
  • Figure 13: The US is enhancing its broadband map and underlying database
  • Figure 14: FTTH/B homes passed vs. subscribers, 2012-2022
  • Figure 15: Ericsson provides good detail on traffic by device type and FWA
  • Figure 16: Australian broadband data traffic by network type
  • Figure 17: Internet traffic split by interconnection partner, France, 2022
  • Figure 18: Segmentation of mobile data traffic in Europe by context
  • Figure 19: Crowd-sourced data for network latency metrics, UK
  • Figure 20: Different metrics for “idle” latency vs. network under load
  • Figure 21: ARPU will need redefining as user becomes distinct from subscriber
  • Figure 22: The quasi-mythical “scissor effect”
  • Figure 23: Towards experiential metrics for mobile applications
  • Figure 24: Some metrics need to evolve to an end-to-end view
  • Figure 25: Future regulatory metrics and analyses will exploit more sources and AI
  • Figure 26: New sources of input and analysis – potential impact on metric quality and detail
  • Figure 27: ITU world telecom indicators, 2023
  • Figure 28: Vendor publications on industry key metrics


Technologies and industry terms referenced include: A3, Amazon, APIs, AR and VR, ARPU, capex, ChatGPT, cisco, Ericsson, EU, fixed networks, FTTP, fttx, FWA, IoT, M&A, Meta, mobile networks, mobile traffic, MVNO, Netflix, ofcom, P5G, QOS, regulator, telco KPI, V2X