T-Mobile is doing away with yet another industry norm – the traditional coverage map. It’s replacing the often outdated (and questionably accurate) coverage map with what it calls the industry’s first and only crowdsourced, customer-verified network coverage map.
While not quite enough to warrant a full-fledged Un-carrier event, the new approach could still come in handy for both prospective and existing customers.
Coverage maps were once the go-to resource in deciding whether or not to sign up for wireless service with a particular carrier. When I got my first cell phone around 2000, I chose my carrier based primarily on whether or not I’d get coverage at home. Back then, mobile web connectivity didn’t really exist so as long as your phone could make and receive calls, you were golden.
The mobile phone landscape has changed dramatically over the past 15 years, however. Now, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll get reception in medium-sized and large metropolitan areas with any major carrier. Heavily travelled highways are also a given.
The real debate today centers not around call reception but the speed of wireless data and in that respect, T-Mobile’s crowdsourced map is a fantastic idea. Unlike old maps that were produced using predictive coverage estimates, T-Mobile’s new map is updated twice each month to reflect customer experiences based on more than 200 million data points each day.
This should give users a much more accurate representation of the exact level of data service they’ll receive in a given area.