US: Crowdsourced mobile network measurement startup OpenSignal raised USD 1.3 million seed round from Qualcomm Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Passion Capital, which it will use to build up its database of mobile network performance metrics.
OpenSignal has an Android app that allows one to track the towers their phone connects to and measure their signal strength. This information is then sent anonymously back to OpenSignal’s databases where it’s compiled with billions of other signal readings to construct detailed coverage maps. OpenSignal then makes recommendations regarding carriers based on how their networks perform.
There are a lot of similarities between OpenSignal’s app and that of its competitor, RootMetrics. OpenSignal is constantly collecting signal strength data, which is useful for generating coverage information, as well as taking the occasional speed test, which shows the bandwidth available. The biggest difference between the two, however, is Root does its own indoor and drive testing, which allows Root to fill in the gaps left over by crowdsourcing.
OpenSignal has managed to collect a lot of data points – according to its website, nearly 2.5 billion individual readings from 824,000 cellsites on 825 carriers’ networks. OpenSignal now plans to expose an API to developers letting them use that mapping data in their own applications.