US company, Root Metrics have already established their services stateside, mapping mobile network coverage and selling the data to various companies for various purposes, but now they’ve set their sights on Europe and have kicked off their new pursuits by touching down here in the UK.
The company, which was set up in 2008, use a mix of research teams and volunteers willing to run their Android and iOS apps on their smartphones to assess and record what signal strength and quality is like across 2G, 3G and 4G for both voice and data. What’s more the data is currently available for free on an enhance Google map which shows a hexagonal grid offering the latest covering stats by indication of colour.
Although Root Metrics have already established themselves and their work in the US. Hull is the only location which has been completely mapped across all the major UK carriers. The interactive map itself allows the user to select which network’s coverage they want to see overlaid and although it’s early days, the accuracy and coverage of the current UK map is only likely to get better with time.
The key advantage to checking coverage in your area with an independent map such as that of Root Metrics’ is that, according to The Register, unlike the UK networks who create their maps using a mixture of topology and cell tower placement without taking into account heavy usage and overload risk on a tower-by-tower basis, the American company also base their coverage data on actual speed tests for the various frequency bands and voice or data usage.
October 16, 2012
No matter what phone you’ve got, whether it’s a £5 budget feature phone or a £500 top of the line smartphone, sometimes you just don’t have signal. Hitting a tunnel whilst on the train can be annoying, but finding out your phone can get reception in your own home can be infuriating. Carriers have to work hard to make sure that the their customers experience the best mobile signal whenever possible, for sending texts, placing calls and more importantly now, than ever, going online.
We’ve already spoken about tips for improving mobile phone signal when all else fails, but it’s ultimately in the interest of the carriers to make sure their customers get the best service. Each leading UK carrier provides a coverage map, designed to help customers understand where and how effectively their mobile network coverage operates, links of which are supplied in this article. We’ve also collated some of the most attractive features on of each carrier's network, to better inform you should you decide to move to a new network.
O2 was the first carrier in the UK to offer Apple’s iPhone when it originally launched back in 2007. The same handset was most likely the catalyst for the popularity of browsing on mobile 3G networks today. The company’s network supports some 23 million customers and its coverage map can be filtered to show just 2G or 2G and 3G coverage to better tailor the information relevant to your handset.
Until the end of 2014, Orange has vowed to spend some £1.4 million a day improving its network quality and coverage throughout the UK. By the time the scheme is complete, some 99.5% of the UK should be covered with 3G signal outdoors and good 2G signal both indoors and outdoors. The upgrades are also being used to implement the eventual introduction of 4G speeds, which will offer faster mobile data transfer. The existing coverage map can be found here.
Even the carrier’s name is modelled on the use of 3G. The company’s 3G network launched on the 3rd of March 2003 or 3/3/03, making it one of the youngest on the block and it underwent great expansion and improvements in 2008. Three has gained enormous popularity with their 3G network quality, winning awards for ‘No.1 Network for iPhone’ and ‘No.1 Network for 3G Tablets’. Their coverage (2G and 3G) spans over 97% of the UK, as you can see here.
Customers on T-Mobile and Orange can share each others 2G and 3G networks. This allows T-Mobile customers to continue using their smartphones as usual even in areas where T-Mobile signal is weak or nonexistent. The same applies to Orange customers too, when sharing T-Mobile’s network. They are also part of the same £1.5 billion upgrade scheme in place under the Orange/T-Mobile partnership brand, EverythingEverywhere. The coverage map looks like this.
Aside from touting itself as ‘network of choice’ by the UK’s emergency services, Vodafone have a long standing stable network. Their reliability and quality landed them four awards back in 2010 and it was also one of the first networks to offer a viable solution to poor in-home mobile signal, with the introduction of its Vodafone Pure Signal accessory which bolsters local 2G and 3G networks by using your home internet connection. Its un-boosted signal strength map can be found here.
July 24, 2012