Almost two-thirds of the latest models of mobile phones sold in the Republic failed to meet internationally-recognised quality standards for downloading data, according to new research carried out by the telecom regulator.
The survey by ComReg of 33 of the newest mobile handsets available in the Irish market found only 13 models met recommended levels for accessing data in all eight tests.
Several of the best-selling models, including the Apple iPhone XR and Samsung A10, all failed to achieve the desired standard in at least half of the tests.
The Apple iPhone XS Max also only met the recommended download standard in four of the eight tests, although its smaller related version, the Apple iPhone XS, met all recommended levels of performance.
The worst performing handset was the Alcatel U5, which failed to meet the required level for downloading data in seven of the eight tests.
ComReg measured the download quality of the different handsets across four bandwidths using 3G and 4G technology, with tests conducted when holding the phone in both the right and left hand, giving a total of eight different measurements.
Performance was assessed on the basis of “total isotropic sensitivity” (TIS) which is a measurement of a handset’s ability to detect a weak signal and maintain connection to a base station.
The GSMA – the international representative body of mobile operators – has recommended TIS levels for various bandwidths as guidelines for acceptable and achievable performance.
The analysis was carried out in a specialist chamber to ensure consistent settings were used for the testing of all handsets with the methodology independently reviewed by researchers from Queen’s University Belfast.
ComReg stressed that several factors can affect the quality of a mobile phone that a user will experience at any given location, including terrain, distance from a base station and number of other users in the area, but the one relatively constant factor for users is their handset.
Among the 13 models to achieve the desired standard for downloading data in all tests were the Huwaei Mate 20 (both Lite and X versions), the Sony Experia (both 1 and XZ3 models), the Motorola Moto G7+ and OnePlus 6T.
ComReg said the TIS performance of all handsets showed little variation in measurements between tests using the left and right hand.
The regulator said the average scores for all 33 models surpassed the recommended values.
None of the same handsets met the required standards in all scenarios in a similar series of eight tests carried out in earlier research by ComReg in relation to the quality of voice calls.
A total of 14 different phones failed to achieve the recommended standard in any of the eight tests, including the three Apple iPhone models.
The best performing phone in terms of voice calls was the Samsung Galaxy S10, which achieved the desired standard in six out of eight tests.