Feature Articles

Mid-Year Review of Telco's 4G LTE Networks - Orchard Road and Universities Edition

Network Signal Strength of the Telcos

Network Signal Strength 

Aside from conducting benchmark and real-world speed tests, we used a third party app (Network Signal Strength) to measure the signal strength of the connection to the mobile phone with the respective network. 

The signal strength is measured in dBm, and is always measured in negative value (e.g. -70dBm). Similar to the speed tests, the signal strength is affected by many factors such as:

  • Proximity to a cell tower or antenna
  • Interferences from other cell towers and antennas 
  • Direction at which the antenna is pointing 
  • Barriers such as buildings and thick walls 
  • Weather conditions 
  • Volume of network traffic

This is a general guideline used in interpreting these dBm values.

  • Weak: Anything beyond -100dBm (e.g. -110dBm)
  • Normal: -90 to -100dBm
  • Good: -70 to -80dBm
  • Very Good or Perfect: Values higher than -70dBm (e.g. -60dBm)

As Network Signal Strength is a third party app, we are unable to verify its accuracy. Hence, the results shown by the app may not be true representations of the network signal strength at the particular location. With these basics in mind, let's take a look at the network signal strengths at the various locations below. Take note that in our previous article, we've provided actual screenshots from the phones. Due to the increased number of locations used for reporting in this article, we've chosen to show only the actual signal strength figures in a table for an easier overview:-

Network Signal Strength (-dBm)
  M1 SingTel StarHub
Wheelock Place  -94 (indoor)
-76 (outdoor)
 -86 (indoor)
-84 (outdoor)
-87 (indoor)
-75 (outdoor)
Istean - 106 (indoor)
-79 (outdoor)
-75 (indoor)
-81 (outdoor)
-87 (indoor)
-78 (outdoor)
Far East Plaza -96 (indoor)
-86 (outdoor)
-84 (indoor)
-85 (outdoor)
-86 (indoor)
-83 (outdoor)
Wisma Atria -82 (indoor)
-96 (outdoor)
-79 (indoor)
-67 (outdoor)
-81 (indoor)
-84 (outdoor)
Takashimaya -103 (indoor)
-78 (outdoor)
-92 (indoor)
-84 (outdoor)
-95 (indoor)
-99 (outdoor)
313 Somerset -90 (indoor)  -104 (indoor)  -96 (indoor)
Plaza Singapura -104 (indoor)
-91 (outdoor)
-95 (indoor)
-76 (outdoor)
-83 (indoor)
-69 (outdoor)
NUS -91 (indoor) -90 (indoor) -97 (indoor)
NTU -79 (indoor) -99 (indoor) -105 (indoor)
SMU -87 (indoor) -90 (indoor) -72 (indoor)
SIM N.A  -96 (indoor) -98 (indoor)

 

Conclusion

Our test methodology may not be perfect, but we think these tests should give you an idea of where the different telcos stand with regrards to 4G LTE coverage across the island. As iterated throughout this article, the results reflected here do not represent the actual performance of the mobile network for everyone. Network infrastructure upgrades and improvements are always a work in progress for the telcos, so the reported outcome in this feature article is only valid for the period of our testing. In any case, we hope to conduct more such impromptu checks in the future and across more devices for the benefit of our readers and the community in general.