Can you hear me now? AI-centred voice call quality testing

Can you hear me now?

In a world where mobile communication is focused on the use of apps and data, does the quality of a voice call still matter? And is it worth communications service providers (CSPs) spending effort on improving it?

In this blog post Amr Ashraf, Digis Squared’s RAN and Software Solution Architect and Trainer argues that “Yes, it absolutely is! Voice quality, and particularly silence within calls – can you still hear me? – is one of the most tangible aspects of network quality for end users.”

Read on for insights into Digis Squared’s AI-centered voice call quality testing capabilities, using INOS.

If it’s important, we call.

Does voice quality still matter? “Yes! As voice technologies continue to evolve, and call costs drop, it continues to be important to ensure that the quality and clarity of voice calls is maintained,” explains Amr Ashraf, RAN and Software Solution Architect and Trainer.

“The phone call, the most basic and original capability of the mobile phone service, is also the most tangible for end users. Despite the huge range of apps we have on our phones, more often than not, it’s a voice call that’s used for communicating the most important, most sensitive and most urgent information.”

If we can’t clearly hear and understand what is being spoken on a call, or in a voice note, whichever app or method is used to connect or send the audio, then the customer’s perception is always that the network coverage or capacity is of low quality.

“If you find yourself saying ‘Can you still hear me? Are you still there?’, or thinking ‘What did they say?’, then the assumption is that the ‘fault’ is a poor quality service from the CSP”, says Amr. “Of all the aspects of a mobile network, voice quality is the strongest and most obvious indicator to an end-user of the quality of the service. Customers’ expectations of voice quality remain high, whichever technology the digitalised sound is transmitted over.”

Voice technologies today

Today, whilst some traditional mobile voice calls are still carried over legacy circuit-switched networks, calls made over 4G and higher, and for all app-based solutions, these digitalised sounds are transmitted as Voice over IP (VoIP), Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi), all of which enable cost-effective ways to transport voice. Having a single solution that can assess voice quality across all technologies, in an automated and efficient way is vital – and in the web of complex multi-system networks, that AI-centred voice call quality testing solution must also work with solutions from all vendors.


Digis Squared’s INOS AI tool is a vendor agnostic, multi-network-technology solution delivering automated assessment, testing and optimisation of networks, across all technologies.

INOS & voice call quality testing

“If one of our clients – a CSP, MNO, MVNO or regulator – wants to better understand voice call quality on a specific mobile network, then we use our INOS AI tool to analyse the data,” shares Amr.

Image 1: voice codec rate. INOS analysis, for a specific drive test, on one mobile network, in Cairo

Notes on Image 1: For a voice call to be transmitted over the mobile network, it must first be digitized and compressed. Various standardized compression technologies, or codecs, are used to efficiently transmit the data. This image shows data collected during voice calls during a drive test, and the key on the left shows the codec used.

Enhanced Voice Rate (EVS) and Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) are audio compression formats used in the transmission of voice calls – EVS is a super-wide coding standard developed for VoLTE, and AMR is the older standard developed for GSM and UMTS (3G), sometimes called HD+.

Image 1 shows the variation in codec and compression rate utilised during test voice calls, made during a drive test. The changes in codec and compression rate are caused by changes in network coverage and capacity during the coverage, and will have resulted in fluctuations in call quality.

“Using INOS, we can simulate a customer call using the voice quality test to produce unbiased, industry-recognized audio quality scores,” explains Amr. “This test can reveal a great deal about your customers’ experience, as well as the quality of service being provided by your carrier. It also takes minimal preparation to undertake.”

Vital to this test is POLQA – Perceptual Objective Listening Quality Analysis – the global standard for benchmarking voice quality of fixed, mobile and IP-based networks. Standardized by the ITU in 2011, it is used for voice quality analysis of VoIP, HD Voice, 3G, 4G/VoLTE and 5G networks.

“So, whilst drive testing with the INOS kit, we set up a voice call and then use our own hardware solution to inject a POLQA reference audio into the voice call from one side of the call, and from the other side, we record the call, and then compare it using the POLQA algorithm.”

“Given that the POLQA reference audio is 6 seconds long, to analyse this data, we must split our call into audio files that are each only 6 seconds long. To ensure very precise splitting of the audio file, we leverage our AI engine to find the beginning of specific words in audio files. This way, we can ensure that we are aligning the analysis with natural speech patterns, and achieve a more realistic analysis of the data.”

Image 2: MOS score with 6 second sampling. INOS analysis, for a specific drive test, on one mobile network, in Cairo.

Notes on image 2: using data from the same drive test shown in image 1, now the data has been analyzed by INOS, and split into 6 second chunks, aligned with the start of specific spoken words in the audio file.

In telecoms, the Mean Opinion Score (MOS) is a numerical measure of the overall ranking of the quality of voice and video sessions. In image 2 above, we can see that on this journey, only a small minority of sections score the minimum 1 MOS (in black), and most of the call is green (MOS 3 and 4).

Image 3: MOS Score per call. INOS data, for a specific drive test, on one mobile network, in Cairo.

Notes on image 3: again using the same data as above, here the data is averaged out for specific calls, rather than 6 seconds chunks of a call shown in image 3.

INOS & silence within a call

“Silence within a call is a major problem with mobile phone conversations, and significantly impacts the customers’ perception of call quality. We’re all familiar with having to say ‘Can you still hear me? Are you there?’ whilst one of the people on the call is travelling in a car or bus,” continues Amr.

“To measure this, the Digis Squared team utilize our in-house AI capability within INOS to detect silence in voice calls, and analyse the percentage of silence.”

Image 4: Silence per call in seconds, INOS data, for a specific drive test, on one mobile network, in Cairo.

Notes on image 4: this analysis identifies areas where silence during the call was detected. Green indicates no silence, and in yellow, red and black are increasing amounts of detected silence.

INOS: automated, actionable voice call quality reports

INOS delivers automated voice quality reports, with customised KPIs, and actionable insights.

Amr concludes, “All our INOS reports can be fully customised, and are generated within 15 minutes of receipt of the data file, sent directly from the test devices in the field, over the air. What our clients find most useful is that not only are the reports conveniently formatted for immediate use, they also, thanks to our AI engine, clearly identify issues and provide actions which can be taken to address those issues. Data is no use without analysis, and the AI capabilities we have developed within INOS ensure that the analysis is fast, efficient and actionable.”

Find out more about INOS

INOS can be implemented as a public or private cloud, or on-premise solution, and is also available as a “Radio Testing as-a-service” model. Its extensive AI-analysis and remote OTA capabilities ensure speedy and accurate assessment of all aspects of network testing: SSV, in-building and drive testing, network optimisation and competitor benchmarking, across all vendors, network capabilities and technologies, including 5G, private networks and OpenRAN.

INOS is built with compute resources powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors. Digis Squared is a Partner within the Intel Network Builders ecosystem program, and a member of the Intel Partner Alliance.

In conversation with Amr Ashraf, Digis Squared’s RAN and Software Solution Architect and Trainer.

If you or your team would like to discover more about our capabilities, please get in touch: use this link or email


Discover more

About Digis Squared

Managed Services, System Integration & Consulting. We transform telecom networks, deploy new technologies, and manage vendors, for network operators, service providers and regulators. Apply our vendor-agnostic expertise, automated AI-led tools and processes to transform your technical and commercial capabilities. We work with agility, deep experience, and our in-house cognitive tools to optimise and manage multi-vendor networks across all technologies. Headquartered in the UK, Digis Squared has offices in Angola, Egypt and UAE.

Digis Squared ◦ Enabling smarter networks.

In-building coverage testing without an engineer on-site, with INOS

With an ever-growing volume of wireless network traffic produced inside buildings, network design and performance must be evaluated from within buildings. In this blog post, we assess the growing need for indoor coverage and the impact of the pandemic, plus Digis Squared RAN and Software Solution Architect and Trainer, Amr Ashraf, describes how in-building coverage testing without an engineer on-site can be undertaken, with INOS.

The ever-growing importance of in-building coverage

Often quoted research (1) estimated that “approximately 80 percent of wireless data traffic originates or terminates within a building”. Anecdotally, that figure is far higher now. Lockdowns and work-at-home mandates of the Covid-19 pandemic, plus the growing need to digitally maintain contact with friends and family are sure to have driven this even higher.

The pandemic has generated, and increased, specific needs for wireless connectivity indoors,

• Switch to working at home
• Increase in voice traffic and video conferencing/communication, gaming and streaming traffic as we stay connected online at home to friends and family
• Apps handling proximity detection/tracking and alerts about infected contacts
• Tele-medicine: urgent care assessments and consultations, updating families unable to visit, remote assessments and advice, maintaining safe care-homes for the elderly and hospice patients

Even aside from the pandemic, the explosion in social media and mobile-centric content generation and consumption has dramatically increased the volume of mobile data consumed indoors.

But if indoor coverage is poor, then this impacts both operator revenue, and, perhaps more critically, brand loyalty and churn, as the need to connect now, indoors is far higher than any remaining loyalty consumers (and businesses) have for an operator’s brand.

Testing wireless connectivity inside buildings

Digis Squared RAN and Software Solution Architect and Trainer Amr Ashraf shares insights into the challenges and solutions for testing indoor coverage.

“Indoor network testing presents its own set of challenges, not encountered when undertaking traditional outdoor drive-testing. These indoor challenges include everything from gaining physical access to the site, to collecting as much relevant benchmarking data as possible in a single pass, and determining whether solutions provide data uploads to the cloud and data processing in a timeframe that enables a technician to test and troubleshoot network issues in one visit – if there is poor network coverage indoors, this may impact the speed at which we can assess the results!”

“Indoor testing today utilises smartphone and tablet applications, with all equipment packed discretely into a backpack-based test solution for indoor network testing. This approach has led to the number of walk-testing options for interior settings significantly expanding in recent years. Then, with detailed plans or architecture drawings of the building, and an efficient walking route planned out, a team member can be tasked with wearing the back-pack, starting the app, and walking through the route.”

“As mobile network operators and communications service providers have concentrated more and more on in-building coverage, they often encounter a problem: they are unable to gather all the measurements they need in a single test walk.”

“Critically, it’s no longer necessary for the person walking the route inside the building to be an engineer. The technical assessment can be undertaken by skilled staff, remotely, ensuring your scarce engineering resource can be deployed efficiently across many projects. When an issue is detected during the building walk-through, the network can be optimised remotely – and because the INOS testing and analysis takes just 15 minutes from receipt of data, our aim is to ensure that we can re-test and re-walk the improved area as part of a single visit to the building.”

“One of our clients described testing a distributed antenna system at a major convention centre that served four wireless operators using three different wireless technologies across multiple channels, for a total of about 20 different operator/technology/band combinations, each of which required a separate measurement. A complex configuration, but one which is quite common in large business-focused buildings.”

“The indoor network testing for this project was carried out with INOS using the Digis Squared proprietary backpack-based In-Building Test Suite. In contrast to user-equipment-based backpack testing systems, which are typically restricted by the number of devices and technologies that can be tested concurrently, the INOS solution depends on a scanning receiver intended for multi-technology networks. That is to say, we are not constrained, there is no technical limit on the number of devices we can use in the testing.”

Undertaking an in-building survey

“The INOS backpack is a multi-technology integrated solution for testing and measuring multi-device mobile networks. Whether it’s for conducting an indoor or outdoor walk or cycle test, or an outdoor drive test, the INOS backpack offers a small design for portability and simple movement. Data interaction is accomplished by using a WiFi hotspot to link an Android tablet (as a controller unit) to test terminals. A powerful solution for portable multi-network benchmarking, supporting up to 20 test terminals and a scanner for testing and measuring simultaneously.”

“The measurements are transferred to the cloud for additional data management and processing, and the testing is undertaken according to the test plans given by the controller unit.”

“We use an Android tablet to operate all of the testing equipment in the backpack, connected via Wi-Fi to the test phones, which are also integrated into the backpack. This configuration gives the technician complete control over the devices, enabling them to add pinpoints throughout the in-building walk as data is collected, or repeat sections immediately after dynamic network optimisations are implemented.”

Part of the INOS interface showing the controlling tablet view, with information about the connected testing devices and their status.

Case study

“Recently, a global Tier One mobile operator used the Digis Squared INOS backpack testing technology to investigate networks in Cairo. They wanted to undertake benchmarking on their own network, as well as those of their main rivals, both inside buildings and outside. Data speeds, latency, and web browsing durations were among the main performance parameters they tested with INOS, as were dropped calls and RSSI signal levels. Once captured, the INOS data collected was sent over the air to the INOS cloud-based platform for immediate automated analysis and presentation via an analytics dashboard.”

INOS data captured during in-building testing inside the “Mall of Arabia”, in Cairo, Egypt

INOS advantage compared with traditional approaches

“One of the primary advantages INOS delivers is our very quick analysis and reporting capability. After just a few minutes of testing, we can practically immediately provide a comprehensive report with all KPIs.”

“The vast majority of network coverage-related complaints occur indoors, traditionally necessitating an engineer to visit the customer’s house or office to undertake a network evaluation – this legacy approach results in high operational costs, and scheduling delays in identifying the issue.”

“Let’s compare that with the INOS solution. Anyone can be tasked with capturing data with INOS, no technical knowledge is needed to carry the backpack around the building or location of interest. It is not necessary to divert a skilled engineer out in to the field to capture data – on some projects we’ve tasked Uber drivers with taking an INOS bag around a pre-defined route, and returning it to us, or asked a member of the admin team to cycle a route with the INOS backpack. The INOS system can even be utilised to submit a self-service complaint to skilled RF optimization specialists in the office, who can then undertake an initial assessment remotely using the INOS kit controller and web application. And of course, as only one person is needed to take the bag in a car, or walk it around a building, the solution is also Covid-19 safe.”

“INOS also enables operators and suppliers to capture data in the field remotely, analyse the data, determine which issues can be solved remotely, and then efficiently schedule and resolve problems which can only be addressed in the field .”

“If you want to know more, we’re always happy to chat through what we can do to help you. Meet us at MWC22 or let’s fix up a call online.”

In conversation with Amr Ashraf, Digis Squared RAN and Software Solution Architect.

If you or your team would like to discover more about our capabilities, please get in touch: use this link or email .

Key Advantages of INOS

  • Tablet: From the Android picture gallery, users can quickly import tiny to huge floor plans (of any form of structure).
  • Floor plans and data are kept in the cloud and may be shared with co-workers.
  • Ease of use, testing, and interior navigation can all be undertaken by non-technical personnel.
  • In real time, test data is uploaded to the INOS Cloud server.
  • Post-analysis: results can be mapped onto indoor floor layout, with a web-based dashboard.
  • All-in-one mobile solution with device, network, and service benchmarking capabilities.
  • From the standpoint of subscribers, it provides extensive network performance statistics.
  • INOS is used as the test device, allowing for a single investment to be used for multiple purposes.
  • Test procedures, data processing and analysis can be fully automated, resulting in increased overall efficiency, and optimised consistency.

Discover more

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.

Image credits

  • Digis Squared social media and blog banner image: Sung Jin Cho
  • With thanks to Digis Squared’s Ziad Mohamed
  • All INOS images: (c) Digis Squared


Test and optimise LTE 450MHz, without handsets

How do you test and optimise LTE 450MHz, when there are no handsets on the market?

In December, Amr Ashraf, RAN and Software Solution Architect and Trainer at Digis Squared, gave us his insights into LTE 600MHz band and network optimisation. In this blog, he provides an update on the LTE 450MHz band, the commercial opportunities it enables, and how to overcome the impact on testing and network optimisation when there are no handsets available on the market.

The background: why use 400-450 MHz for telecoms?

Amr explains, “Communications in the 400-450 MHz band – also called ‘LTE 450MHz’ – have a longer wavelength, lower frequency, and lower energy than the frequencies used by 5G. They have favourable propagation characteristics, and deliver good coverage (and therefore lower infrastructure costs), along with better in-building penetration.”

Electromagnetic Spectrum, and LTE 400-450 MHz [1]

“Let’s think about how the characteristics of this band can be best commercially used in the telecom sector,

  • Coverage and capacity: Due to the physical properties of the frequencies involved, very good indoor penetration and coverage can be achieved with a small number of sites. Compared with higher bands, it requires a smaller number of base stations to give a broad reach, achieving significant economic benefits in covering large areas with a dispersed population.
    However, standardised equipment does not support channel bandwidths greater than 5 MHz. As a result, the 400 – 450 MHz band is ideal for networks with high coverage requirements but low to moderate capacity requirements – for example, it enables some very efficient commercial opportunities for low volumes of data sent by IoT devices in rural areas.
    Mainstream consumer devices do not include LTE 450MHz support (and are unlikely to do so at any point soon), so this band is also largely free of congestion. It, therefore, has the potential to be used to offload M2M traffic away from premium frequency bands – leaving more capacity for lucrative, higher-margin consumer services on those premium bands.
  • High security of radio sites is economically feasible due to the small number of sites needed. As a result, LTE 450 MHz networks can be designed to deliver far higher reliability levels than higher frequency networks. Example application: as fewer sites can be more economically physically secured, a long-lasting battery backup can be deployed.
  • Private Networks: With its high coverage, but modest capacity capabilities, LTE 450MHz is not suitable for mass-market communication. Instead, we expect this band to be mostly used for essential services by PAMR (Public Access Mobile Radio) networks in the B2B and B2G segments.
  • Security: Since sensitive applications have high-security requirements, stand-alone networks that run independently and have no direct links to public networks or the internet are essential.”

History of 400MHz & telecoms

“Use of the 400-470 MHz band varies widely globally. Even within one Regulatory geography, its use is fragmented, being allocated to many different users and technologies in non-contiguous blocks – often including civil and military applications across business, maritime, amateur, aeronautical, fixed link and public sector radio.”

Illustrating diversity and fragmentation of current UK 420-470MHz spectrum, by user (frequency/bandwidth not to scale), March 2021 [2]

“Between neighbouring regulatory regions, historically there has been little alignment across borders, which can lead to interference issues. This is starting to change! Within Europe for example, CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications) manages recommendations on how frequencies are used, and supports coordination agreements with neighbouring countries. Lack of alignment on frequency use adds to the complexity of developing equipment compliant with the needs of divergent territories, for example, UK and EU.”

“Historically, some parts of the world assigned 450 MHz band to analog mobile, and then later adopted for CDMA. Once widely used around the world, a mature ecosystem still exists for CDMA technology, but it is now heading towards the end of its lifecycle.”

“Since 2019, these very low frequencies have gained interest in Europe especially around their use in 4G-based LTE networks for IoT and critical communications, including PMR, thanks to their excellent propagation characteristics, making them particularly useful for delivering coverage over long distances in rural areas.”

“Standardisation and operationalisation of this technology has been a focal point for the 450 MHz Alliance for years, with LTE becoming the natural and future-proof successor, particularly for IoT. The members of the 450 MHz Alliance are driving the creation of a new mobile ecosystem and bringing together carriers, spectrum owners as well as equipment, terminal and solution vendors to drive the development of mobile networks in the 450 MHz frequency band worldwide.”

Standardisation has been progressed by the international telecoms standards body, 3GPP RAN, which approved two new bands in the 400 MHz+ frequency range at its 84th Plenary Meeting (3rd-6th June, 2019 in Newport Beach, California),

  • Band 87, uplink 410-415 MHz and downlink 420-425 MHz
  • Band 88, uplink 412-417 MHz and downlink 422-427 MHz

“This was a significant step forward in the 400 MHz band’s harmonized production of chipsets, modules, devices, and network equipment. Bands 31, 72, and 73, which are located between 450 and 470 MHz, were also specified by 3GPP RAN in previous years,” Amr explained.

A complete picture of the 400 MHz frequency range [3]

“Band 450MHz is limited to a maximum 5 MHz channel size, the maximum practical due to the 450 MHz band’s large wavelength. The band supports up to a 5 MHz carrier in 2×2, providing up to 37 Mb/s of total channel capacity and connectivity beyond 100 kilometres.”

At the end of 2020, the 450 MHz Alliance reported that there were 125 devices supporting 450 MHz (Band 31, 0% of which were phones). Network deployment stats were reported for 380MHz, 410MHz and 450MHz combined: 74 countries globally, with consultations underway in a further 13 countries. [4]

B31 450 MHz LTE coverage prediction, Halberd Bastion [5]

Commercial deployments

“The 400MHz spectrums have a low frequency and wide coverage range, making them commercially suitable for SCADA, LV tracking, smart grids, water monitoring, and remote installations in substations for many IoT/M2M applications.”

“An example of such a commercial use case is found in the four German electricity transmission system operators, who have recently made a case for the energy sector to be allocated 450 MHz LTE mobile radio bands. To address the challenge of incorporating millions of new decentralised producers and users into the grid, such as electric cars and heat pumps, while retaining network reliability, they propose using 450 MHz LTE bands, and compare it the implementation already in place for emergency services who use LTE-capable frequency bands (eg, 700 MHz).” [6]

“In Ireland, ESB Networks have already successfully acquired the rights for 2x 4MHz of spectrum in Band 87 of 410MHz, to facilitate “transformation to a low carbon electricity system through smart technologies” and help it “deliver a more secure, reliable and sustainable electricity network.” [7]

“Additionally, 2020 saw the launch of the first LTE 450MHz Cat1 NB-IoT smart meters, utilizing the in-building penetration, lower network operating communication costs that 450MHz LTE brings to address this large commercial opportunity.” [8]

“For the first time, M2M applications for PMR/PAMR use cases, such as those for operators of critical infrastructure in electricity, transportation, and health, presented a forecast on volumes in the millions, if not tens of millions. This has provided the catalyst the major chipset and module vendors needed to commit to 450 MHz. Additionally, dedicated 450 MHz push-to-talk phones enable voice and community communication, providing a highly resilient solution for emergency communications.”

Virtual Access GW2300 Series [9]. Industrial routers like this deliver LTE throughput speeds over the B87 410MHz frequency spectrum.

Several European countries have recently allocated spectrum in the 410–430 MHz range to essential communications by Electricity Grid Operators or PPDR (Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic).

As Amr explains, “These ongoing actions at standardisation bodies, in tandem with the work of commercial companies such as the power transmission businesses in Germany, and device manufacturers, will definitely boost ecosystem development in this frequency range. We are seeing more and more interest in this technology to efficiently and reliably deliver IoT communications, both in-buildings and rural areas.”

How do you test in the LTE 400MHz-450MHz band?

“Given the absence of mobile handset support for this band currently, traditional network testing and optimisation solutions will struggle to be able to test in this band,” explains Amr. “However, at Digis Squared, the INOS IoT kits already support LTE 450MHz, as they utilise Quectel BG95-M4 chipsets.”

Developed in-house by Digis Squared, INOS is an intelligent, automated testing, benchmarking and analysis platform for network operators and service providers, delivering drive testing (DT), in-building solution (IBS) capability, end to end IoT system testing, and much more, whilst decreasing both the time taken to complete the work and opex cost.

“We are therefore able to immediately support clients who wish to test and optimise LTE 450MHz IoT implementations, as well as CSPs who wish to ensure their network is fully optimised, or want to include this frequency in their drive testing and IBS assessments.”

In conversation with Amr Ashraf, Digis Squared 5G & LTE RAN & Software Solution Architect, and Trainer.

LTE 450MHz optimisation & INOS

Our team can help yours with,

  • Support or consultation on how to deploy, test or re-farm LTE 450 MHz frequencies
  • LTE 450MHz optimisation
  • Using INOS in your network deployment or benchmarking

Please get in touch: use this link or email .

Discover more about INOS, and INOS for 5G.

Keep up to speed with company updates, product launches and our quarterly newsletter, sign up here.

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.



  • B2B: Business to Business
  • B2G: Business to Government
  • CSP: communications service provider
  • CEPT: European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications
  • DT: drive testing
  • IBS: in-building solution
  • INOS: Intelligent Network Optimisation Solution, a Digis Squared tool
  • LV: low voltage
  • M2M: machine to machine communications
  • PAMR: Public Access Mobile Radio
  • PMR: Private Mobile Radio
  • PPDR: Public Protection and Disaster Relief radio
  • SCADA: Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition, system of software and hardware elements that measure and monitor data in real-time, and control equipment, usually automatically, remotely.

Image credits: Karsten Würth, windmills at Biedesheim, Germany.

Digis Squared joins Intel Network Builders

Yasser Elsabrouty, Digis Squared Co-Founder and System Integration Business Unit Director announced, “We are delighted to collaborate with Intel, and become a Partner within the Intel Network Builders ecosystem program, as we work together to deliver optimised world-class telecom network solutions.”

“Digis Squared joins Intel Network Builders ecosystem program and brings with it the deep experience and expertise of the Digis Squared team in ultra-reliable network configuration and optimisation. In addition to our commercial work on virtual network enhancements, our system integration capabilities are a great fit with Intel’s objective to create world-changing technology that enriches the lives of every person on earth. As the pandemic has brought into sharp focus, our ability to collaborate internationally, and nurture the health and well-being of colleagues, friends and family, relies on strong and reliable mobile network communications.”

In conversation with Yasser Elsabrouty, Digis Squared Co-Founder and Director of System Integration Business Unit.

To learn more about how the Digis Squared team can help you with multi-vendor network optimisation, reliable infrastructure configuration and more, please use this link or email

Keep up to speed with company updates, product launches and our quarterly newsletter, sign up here.

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.

About Intel® Network Builders

The Intel® Network Builders ecosystem program accelerates network transformation by connecting all of the players that are driving new solutions to the market, including service providers, end users, infrastructure, software and technology vendor.

The ecosystem offers members technical support technology training, technology matchmaking, co-marketing opportunities and more. These programs help companies to optimally utilize Intel technologies in their solutions, and facilitate joint collaboration.

There are now over 400 Ecosystem Partners.

Image credit: the Intel® Network Builders logo and graphics are copyright and trademark Intel.

The “digis2” logo is copyright and trademark Digis Squared Limited.

LTE 600MHz ◦ Network benchmarking & optimisation with INOS

The background: why is the 600MHz band being used for LTE?

Mobile data usage continues to grow throughout the world, and the pandemic has massively impacted forecasts and expectations, causing telecom operators and CSPs to bring forward their deployment decisions.

“The limited amount of spectrum available below 1 GHz will ultimately run out of capacity. This puts mobile broadband at risk in emerging markets, rural areas and inside buildings. Therefore, long-term
planning is key to enable countries to offer great mobile services for everyone.”

GSMA, October 2019

So what can be done to identify more spectrum for mobile broadband? Countries working on the digital TV switchover can consider including 600MHz for mobile broadband. North America is leading the way – USA auctions were completed in April 2017, Canada in April 2019, and Mexico in 2020!

GSMA [1]

600MHz LTE benefits

We asked Amr Ashraf, RAN and Software Solution Architect and Trainer at Digis Squared, to give us his insights into LTE 600MHz band.

“Over the last couple of years we’ve been starting to hear about the deployment of very low band for mobile communication.  Now, we have commercial networks working on one of the most important low bands, 600MHz.”

Halberd Bastion [2]: Band 71 600 MHz LTE coverage prediction

“600MHz is likely to need about 0.8 cells to cover the same area as a 700MHz cell. So 600MHz will be excellent for providing coverage over a given area. And, as an added bonus, the 600MHz signal is likely to penetrate most buildings – great for indoor coverage.”

“Ideally, an operator will have a selection of low band (600MHz, 700MHz and 90MHz) spectrum to provide wide coverage and in-building coverage together with higher bands (1.8GHz, 2.1/2.6GHz, etc.) to provide capacity at specific locations with small cells, including in-building distributed antenna systems. The trick is in deploying the bands efficiently and economically to meet the market needs.”

… and issues

“On other hand, I don’t think that the 600MHz band will be that useful for 5G implementation, as we can’t use all the new transmission techniques with a low band like Massive MIMO.”

“In order for MIMO to work effectively, the antennas need to be spatially separated such that they are uncorrelated. And, the lower the band, the larger the antenna and the required separation between them. At the 600MHz band, it would be incredibly difficult to physically fit more than two uncorrelated antennas inside handsets, given their current sizing. Our calculations therefore assume that 5G and 4G in the 600MHz band will only make use of 2×2 MIMO.”

“There will be some problems to be faced in the reallocation of systems currently utilising this band, like DTV, and also some wireless devices like MICs. However, 600MHz LTE will be one of the most important bands during the next 10 years for full 4G coverage, particularly for rural areas.”

What problems are encountered deploying the 600MHZ band?

With any new network deployment, testing and optimisation are vital to ensure network performance, and also address any inadvertent impacts on existing networks. Whilst a limited number of activities can be undertaken centrally, drive testing, and in-building testing are critical to understanding the real customer experience in the field.

Developed in-house by Digis Squared, INOS is an intelligent, automated testing, benchmarking and analysis platform for network operators and service providers, delivering drive testing (DT), in-building solution (IBS) capability, and much more, whilst decreasing both the time taken to complete the work and opex cost.

Using cloud-controlled mobiles mounted in cars or taken around buildings, INOS collects and uploads data to the cloud, and eliminates the need for a laptop or engineers in the car, or out and about inside buildings. INOS can receive updated test scripts in the field to instantly re-analyse live network configuration changes, avoiding expensive follow-up field trips. It minimises the sometimes chaotic nature of drive tests, and ensures your staff can work alone at Covid-19 safe distances.

One of the key issues with any drive testing tool, such as INOS, is that there are very few mobile phones available for drive testing in this 600MHz LTE frequency, and where there are, drive test solutions don’t use them.

The good news: uniquely, INOS supports LTE 600MHz band

The Digis Squared team have extensively tested a large range of mobile phones, and the best-performing mobile in the LTE 600MHz band that we have found so far is the Google Pixel 5.

After detailed testing in specific locations where 600MHz LTE is in the live network, our teams have found a significant enhancement in capability using this device in our testing portfolio.

Digis Squared’s INOS tool assessing LTE 600MHz band: Coverage (RSRP)
Digis Squared’s INOS tool assessing LTE 600MHz band: Quality (SINR)
Digis Squared’s INOS tool assessing LTE 600MHz band: MIMO performance (spatial rank)
Digis Squared’s INOS tool assessing LTE 600MHz band: Internet speed (DL PDCP throughput)

LTE 600MHz optimisation with INOS

We’ve already started drive testing this capability with live networks. If you or your team would like to discover more about LTE 600MHz optimisation, or how INOS can help you in your network deployment or benchmarking, please get in touch: use this link or email to arrange an informal chat.

In conversation with Amr Ashraf, Digis Squared 5G & LTE RAN & Software Solution Architect, and Trainer.

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.

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  1. GSMA
  2. Halberd Bastion
  3. For more information about INOS, click here.


  • CSP: communications service provider
  • DT: drive testing
  • DTV: digital TV
  • IBS: in-building solution
  • INOS: Intelligent Network Optimisation Solution, a Digis Squared tool
  • MICs: wireless microphones
  • MIMO: multiple-input and multiple-output. A method for multiplying the capacity of a radio link using multiple transmission and receiving antennas to exploit multipath propagation.

Image credit: Gurwinder Singh

INOS 5G ◦ Now more than ever, test and optimise your 5G network

INOS ◦ now with 5G & multi-vendor chipset support

Enhanced 5G benchmarking and testing capability, OpenRAN functionality testing, and multi-vendor 5G chipset support, the latest major new features added to INOS ensure clients have access to valuable commercial capability.

INOS – the independent telecoms network benchmarking, drive-test and in-building solution developed in-house at Digis Squared – has just been enhanced to deliver major new features to our telecom operator, CSP* and Regulatory clients, including those managing Private Networks. These new features deliver significant new capability to uncover and resolve even more telecom network issues, and enhance customer QoE and network QoS.

“The new 5G INOS features announced today will help MNOs better understand and optimise their network performance, including in deployments with complex multi-vendor architectures and OpenRAN. This is great news for our clients needing Covid-19 safe solutions to optimise their 5G infrastructure, for Regulators working to obtain an independent view of total network performance, and ultimately to the end customer seeking a better connection.”

AbdulRahman Fady, Digis Squared CTO

New 5G capability

  • Extending the range of network testing capabilities, the new enhancements add 5G to our 2G, 3G, 4G and IoT (CAT-M, NB-IoT 1, NB-IoT 2) network capability, across voice, video, data and OTT
  • The new INOS 5G complete testing set gives you visibility of more than two hundred different network KPIs
  • 5G benchmarking solution gives you full visibility of network QoS and customer QoE
  • 5G L3, L2 and L1 signalling capability
  • 5G fully automated single site verification drive testing solution
  • 5G indoor (in-building survey) testing capability.

Extended handset support

  • Now supporting multi-vendor 5G chipsets: Huawei, Samsung and Qualcomm flagship mobiles.

O-RAN support

  • OpenRAN functionality testing, end to end, from radio through to interoperability and benchmark testing between OpenRAN and Legacy RAN
  • Ensures you can pin-point which component in your multi-vendor ecosystem needs to be optimised or investigated further.

Cloud control – for instant updates, and Covid-19 safety

  • Our cloud-controlled INOS automated testing platform delivers both drive testing, and in building survey data, enabling operators and service providers to efficiently obtain the insights needed for key decisions.
  • Our tools need just one person in the vehicle or building – no engineers are needed on-site, ensuring that they can do their work safely and together we can keep our communities connected.
  • Detailed, actionable automated reports are generated within just 15 minutes after tests are completed.
  • Additionally, our real-time-view ensures you can immediately take action to address performance issues, and optimise your capability whilst engineers are still in the field. Make adjustments, OTA update test parameters and re-run your analysis swiftly.

Independent telecoms network analysis and benchmarking just got smarter.

Know your strengths, and weaknesses, across all network technologies. Now more than ever, ensure you know the capability, performance, quality of experience and coverage of your voice and data networks, and that of your competitors, so that you can optimise your assets efficiently. Discover more about how INOS can help you, here.

Now more than ever, test and optimise your 5G network.

To discuss how our independent tools and vendor-agnostic expertise can help your business, please use this link or email to arrange an informal chat.

Keep up to speed with company updates, product launches and our quarterly newsletter, sign up here.

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.


  • CSP: Communications Service Providers
  • INOS: Intelligent Network Optimisation Solution, one of Digis Squared’s AI-led automated tools.
  • MNO: Mobile Network Operator
  • OpenRAN: via standardised radio interfaces and interoperability, hardware and software components from multiple vendors operate over network interfaces that are “open and interoperable”
  • QoE: Quality of Experience
  • QoS: Quality of Service

Image credit: Tim Trad

Regulators ◦ Now more than ever, use independent tools and expertise

Is this the perfect storm of telecoms technical complexity?

As network deployments get more complex, capacity management more difficult to predict, and customer demands rise, how can Telecoms Regulators help deliver the best customer experience?

Globally, 5G deployments are picking up pace, and 2G and 3G networks starting to be retired – engineers at MNOs and CSPs* are knee-deep in complexity, managing technology sunset strategies, IoT connectivity migrations, and adding new layers of 5G components into the patchwork of systems from multiple vendors. This activity brings with it more new operational systems and alarms to integrate (and disentangle), and extra work to try to bring everything together into a cohesive system.

On top of that, the operational teams within MNOs and CSPs have been working hard this year to reconfigure networks to handle shifts in demand, as the pandemic forces huge numbers of people to suddenly work and study from home, and unpredictable demand patterns are addressed as best as possible.

Is this the perfect storm of telecoms technical complexity? How should Telecoms Regulators respond and ensure customer Quality of Experience and Quality of Service are maintained? With so many technical changes occurring in a short space of time, how can technical regulatory staff keep pace with technology, anticipate the future, and ensure their knowledge-base remains unbiased?

Digis Squared has over 50 industry experts with 10 or more years’ multinational mobile operator and vendor experience.

Use our expertise to work alongside your teams and augment their skills and capability,

  • Independent tools for QoE & QoS network benchmarking
  • Band & spectrum strategy consultation
  • Competence development to keep pace with new technologies.

“The Digis Squared team has a depth of experience and knowledge of implementations that you only acquire through years of working on difficult projects and tricky technology deployments. The team bring these insights to all their work, whether that’s with MNOs, CSPs or Regulators.

Mohamed Hamdy, Digis Squared CCO

Independent tools for QoE & QoS network benchmarking

Regulatory coverage and performance concerns vary by market, but in general fall into 3 distinct areas,

  1. Many telecom network licenses have requirements to achieve specific KPIs: Geographical coverage, data throughput rates, QoS requirements.
  2. Legacy benchmarking solutions are often expensive, no longer supported by the vendor, and have a long and slow process to deliver the final report.
  3. When the report is eventually available, it is often a readout of dry statistics, with no clear recommendations on improvements. And with multiple solutions from multiple vendors implemented across the MNOs and CSPs in your territory, there is no standard process to rank and compare network operators.

Since the inception of Digis Squared the leadership team decided to invest and develop its own in-house, vendor-agnostic, multi-technology and scalable automated solutions, to ensure its staff and clients have access to vendor-independent assessment and testing of networks. Today, we are able to provide our clients with these tools to ensure they have an independent assessment of network capabilities. MNOs use our tools to help them accelerate network upgrades and network transformation, ensuring they are able to manage their network traffic growth and network complexity efficiently. Regulators use our tools to ensure they have the insights they need to assess KPIs independently.

INOS is the AI-led QoS and QoE benchmarking tool developed in-house at Digis Squared, using no network vendor tools.

  • Automated and efficient solution for fast and accurate reporting
  • Analysis and recommendations on improvements
  • Cross-check performance against the license to help regulators identify the gaps
  • Proven in the field with MNOs and Regulators
  • Interacts with all major vendors’ platforms, including Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia
  • Covid19 safe solution: our tools need just one person in the vehicle or building – no engineers are needed on-site, ensuring that they can do their work safely and together we can keep our communities connected.

When used by Telecoms Regulators, INOS delivers,

  • One independent, vendor and network agnostic solution
  • Fully automated reports, just 15 minutes after tests end
  • Failure insights: empowered by automation and analytics, we can deliver detailed insights into failure reason
  • INOS BM score – rank and benchmark all operators, by all services tested, across all network technologies and vendors
  • Independent and transparent scrutiny: Operators can access INOS platform, with limited and agreed privileges to review their log files and reports.

INOS KPIs include, but are not limited to,

  • Coverage & quality radio conditions
  • Field KPIs: CST, CSSR, HOSR, CDR
  • Throughput DL & UL: FTP, HTTP, HTTPs
  • Voice quality: POLQA
  • Video Quality: PEVQs
  • OTTs KPIs
  • Adopted optimisation strategy
  • Overlapping and needed neighbours’ optimisation
  • UE Happy Index

Get in touch to talk with us informally about how we can help your Regulatory teams with independent tools and expertise for network benchmarking, and discover INOS here.

Band & spectrum strategy consultation

The Digis Squared team have decades of experience working in telecoms operators and telecom equipment providers, with huge experience across many countries, implementations, technology deployments, and vendor solutions. We can work alongside your teams, or independently, to share our insights and assess innovative and commercial uses of your spectrum, to ensure optimum utilisation in your market.

  • Assess the utilisation of all existing bands
  • Evaluate service usage and importance with stakeholders
  • Policy & procedure updates
  • Spectrum audit and redeployment strategies: identify, complement, and refine all data on national spectrum use
  • Future policy: balancing the needs of end-users and spectrum-users are met to encourage investment
  • Emerging technologies: implementation scenarios and spectrum allocation recommendations for 5G, WLAN, LPWA and more.

Competence development & training

We recognise the difficulties in identifying the vendor-independent training necessary to ensure your teams are not unconsciously biased towards specific solutions.

Our team of experienced staff are well placed to deliver a broad range of technical and non-technical training.

Our approach for competence development utilises different methods to best suit the client, their culture and team needs, with an emphasis on on-job training as well as classroom training, delivered as active, participatory workshops and webinars by our technology experts. We can deliver training on-site, remotely via video link, or in your own time via online material.

Get in touch to arrange a no-obligation discussion with our team, or request a copy of our Technical Training Catalogue:

“In my view, it’s more important than ever that Telecoms Regulators use independent expertise and tools in their assessments, to ensure they have a complete view of their ecosystem, and prepare for whatever storms are on the horizon.”

Mohamed Hamdy, Digis Squared CCO

Now more than ever, use independent tools and expertise in regulatory assessments.

To discuss how our independent tools and vendor-agnostic expertise can help your Regulatory Teams, please use this link or email to arrange a video call.

Keep up to speed with company updates, product launches and our quarterly newsletter, sign up here.

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.


  • CSP: Communications Service Providers
  • INOS: Intelligent Network Optimisation Solution, one of Digis Squared’s AI-led automated tools.
  • MNO: Mobile Network Operator
  • QoE: Quality of Experience
  • QoS: Quality of Service

Image credit: Michael D.