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FCC discovers 3 carriers misrepresented their coverage maps


Uh-oh. It looks like there are some carriers in the U.S. that have overstated their coverage maps. According to a new report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), certain carriers have submitted coverage maps to them that were misrepresented. 

The government agency performed tests that depicted how Verizon, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular provided minimum download speed 62.3% of the time. Among the three carriers, Verizon performed best with providing minimum speed 64.3% of the time. Next was T-Mobile, which provided minimum speed 63.2% of the time; followed by U.S. Cellular who only provided minimum speed 45% of the time. 

The report also detailed how the FCC was not able to access the 4G LTE signals of Verizon (16.2%), T-Mobile (21.3%), and U.S. Cellular (38%) of tests. These numbers are disappointing since the carriers reported coverage in those areas. 

As for stationary tests, the three carriers also failed to provide enough download speeds. They got to meet minimum cell edge probability in only 20 of the 42 locations used for testing. 

The government agency performed a test to measure network performance in 12 states across six drive test routes. They were able to perform 24,649 tests with almost 10,000 miles driven. The staff also conducted 5,916 stationary tests at 42 locations across nine states. 

The carriers were required to submit their coverage maps to the government agency in order to determine any eligible areas for the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) auction support. Since there were some accuracy concerns on the maps, the staff of the agency conducted their own tests. There they were able to determine that the three carriers overstated their coverage. 

The FCC needs these maps to be accurate so they know which areas they should allocate funds so coverage in those areas can be improved. 

The three carriers have not yet responded to the report. And as of this writing, it’s still unclear what the FCC plans to do as punishment for the three carriers for the misrepresentation they created.