Android App Unveils Patchy 3G Mobile Coverage

A recent study of mobile network coverage by the BBC has revealed that many areas of the UK ‘still don’t have adequate access to 3G mobile technology .
The BBC data, which was gathered using a month-long survey that involved almost 45,000 volunteers downloading a special Android mobile app, found that there are still large areas where 3G coverage is unavailable, including major towns and cities, despite claims that more than 90 per cent of the country is covered.
The free app collected network availability data from 42 million locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Those who downloaded the special app Testers were only able to receive a 3G signal 75 per cent of the time, and had to rely on the much slower 2G network for the remaining quarter of the time.
Unsurprisingly, rural areas fared worst, with North Wales deemed to have the worst coverage. However, so-called ‘not spots’ for 3G coverage were also found in major cities such as London.
Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent at the BBC, said: “The data shows that, overall, people are getting 3G about three quarters of the time, but coverage is nothing like as uniform as the picture painted in the coverage map issued by the mobile operators .”
“So most of a city will have excellent coverage but there will be certain places even quite near the centre where some if not all the networks are just not providing a data connection.”
Epitiro, the organisation which carried out the BBC survey, said it was pleased with the results, despite the limitations of the Android-only, voluntary project.
Chief executive Gavin John commented: “The BBC has undertaken a crowd-sourcing survey that is well beyond any scale seen by the mobile industry in this country or any other. For the first time consumers have the means to see 3G coverage precisely where they live, work and travel .”