What’s Really Wrong With UK 3G Broadband

July 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

The BBC this week launches an investigation into the problems of UK mobile phone coverage. In my latest feature for TrustedReviews I explain why it is looking in the wrong place. Find a sample below and a link to the full article at the end.


What’s Really Wrong With UK 3G Broadband

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 21 July 2011
97.5 per cent. 92.5 per cent. 96 per cent. 81 per cent. 84 per cent. After several phone calls we discovered these are the current figures for the 3G network coverage in the UK of 3, Orange,T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2 respectively. So what’s the problem?If you have been paying close attention to the tech news this week you will see the BBC has launched an ambitious project to map the state of mobile phone coverage in the UK. The Beeb will ask Android smartphone owners to download the UK 3G survey app (QR code below) which will run in the background to measure signal strength around the country and whether a 2G or 3G signal is available.1

“Coverage is the number one issue for consumers,” said Gavin Johns, chief executive of Epitiro – the developer behind the app. “Our coverage app will provide the information consumers need to see if 3G services are available and from which mobile operator. As mobile broadband is important to many of us, we hope people volunteer and make the project a success.”

The argument behind the project, which is funded by the taxpayer, is no independent survey has ever been carried out into signal strength – something networks admit. “There is no common standard for measuring coverage and some operators tend to grossly exaggerate,” said Phil Sheppard, director of network strategy at 3. “We like to manage people’s expectations.” This confusion can easily be seen when comparing carrier figures with those of Ofcom. The regulator claims the UK has just 76 per cent 3G coverage and 91 per cent 2G coverage (no UK carrier claims less than 99 per cent 2G UK coverage). It all sounds very noble, but there is a problem: the BBC is asking the wrong questionREAD ON

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