Closing mobile radio gaps – with the help of the Coesfeld model

Measuring boxes in waste collection vehicles record the quality of mobile phone reception

Despite the District of Coesfeld having very good mobile network coverage, there are still gaps in the coverage and a need for expansion. In 2021, we joined forces with the Dülmen-based STF Group, the District of Coesfeld and REMONDIS to develop the idea of recording the quality of mobile phone reception using small measuring boxes that travel in waste collection vehicles. In the meantime, the idea has become known throughout Germany as the “Coesfeld Model” and has been copied by many others.

The advantages of the “Coesfeld model”:

  • The measurement box developed by the STF Group, the Echtnetz-Box, records the measurement data in accordance with network operator standards and automatically adds it to a map platform.
  • As the real network box only needs to be supplied with power via a USB port or cigarette lighter, it can be carried in any vehicle. Time-consuming and expensive extra journeys just to measure mobile phone reception are no longer necessary.
  • Thanks to the co-operation with the waste management company, REMONDIS, almost every road in the district is covered several times. As a result, there are hardly any gaps in the data and it is also possible to make statements about seasonal effects such as weather and vegetation.
  • To build up a solid database, two measuring boxes were driven along the various routes of the waste collection vehicles throughout the district in 2022. Together with our partners, we also received a special prize from the nationwide “Innovative Economic Development” award for this innovative idea.

Analysing the collected data

The evaluation of the collected data began in 2023. Hundreds of thousands of points – broken down by network operator – show the current status of the 2G and 4G mobile networks in the Coesfeld district. For the first time, they now document all known dead spots with data according to network operator standards. In addition, we now also have high-quality data for peripheral locations with some new findings on coverage gaps that could not be tested in an economically viable manner using previous measurement methods.

Steps to close the gaps in coverage

  • Together with STF ITech GmbH, we are looking for suitable locations in terms of radio technology to close the gaps.
  • If there are suitable locations, we check the ownership structure and draw up profiles of the potential sites.
  • We then enter into discussions with the relevant network operators and support them in their search for land, contact persons and owners, as well as in obtaining licences.
Ihr Ansprechpartner
Dr. Jürgen Grüner