BBC to survey UK mobile coverage - and you can take part too

Mobile coverage is a major issue for any consumer. Of course, the concerns of any phone buyer these days tend to veer first towards which handset to buy, and how much your calls and data usage will cost – but with the explosion of smartphone usage in recent years, ensuring that you can get the network coverage where and when you need it most is becoming increasingly important.

Network operators offer their own coverage maps and statistics, but with carriers increasingly claiming near-100% coverage, the usefulness of these data is questionable at best. Recognising the absence of any reliable independent survey on network coverage, the BBC has joined forces with network intelligence specialists Epitiro, to launch the first truly independent in-depth analysis of mobile network coverage in the UK.

Using a special app designed by Epitiro, the survey will chart 2G and 3G service availability across the United Kingdom, collecting anonymised data through the app over the course of a month, which will be used to build an interactive map showing signal coverage throughout the country. Users will be able to see not only the strength of signal coverage, but also how their specific operator performs locally and nationally.

The UK’s telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, recently conducted a more generalised nationwide test of mobile data speeds in conjunction with Epitiro, which showed that even the fastest 3G speeds in the UK failed to exceed around 3.6Mb/s on average, with the Orange network struggling to exceed speeds of between 1 and 1.5Mb/s.

To be part of the BBC’s mobile survey, you’ll need an Android handset; you can download the app from the Android Market (download via QR code below), and the app will do the rest. Find out more about the survey at BBC News.

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20 Comments

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Im 2G wherever I go here in Liverpool, and unless I am on wireless (ie at home or a free wifi area) then data is non existent as its too slow, running on Galaxy S

Quite honestly it's almost pointless. My issue is not getting 3G signal, it's the strength. This graph only shows the connection you have, not the strength.

I'm therefore assuming that all the collated data will show is a "up to 3G speed" coverage map.....which is similar to saying you can get up to 20MB on Sky...who does though?

Hungary has a population of around 10 million but it is Data hungry Country. While I was living there for the past 13+ years I have seen so much in the advancement of Wireless providers, Internet etc... We had 120 MBPS and it came with a bundle (IPTV, VOIP). There was no lag but it was time based. For instance when people came home after school and work there was a peak but you still had your fun.

I'd prefer another Domesday Project instead. For you Americans the Domesday Project was a project to capture a snapshot of everyday life in the UK.

The BBC has actually resurrected its Domesday project from 1986, revisiting and updating it as part of a new project called Domesday Reloaded, which makes the original data available online before it's officially added to The National Archives later this year.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday

gcaw said,
The BBC has actually resurrected its Domesday project from 1986, revisiting and updating it as part of a new project called Domesday Reloaded, which makes the original data available online before it's officially added to The National Archives later this year.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday

I know but wouldn't it be interesting to see how much life has changed in the UK since 1986 with another snapshot of daily life?

Well, to some degree, that's what they're doing - but rather than conduct another full-scale 'snapshot', they're looking at the 1986 snapshot and doing a direct comparison between what was captured then, and how it's changed since then.

For example, on this page - http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/getinvolved - see the two pictures near the bottom of the page, along with the text above them: "Compare the Then and Now - Help us to identify the changes that have taken place over the last 25 years and build a picture of what it's like to live where you do today."

This is arguably closer to what you're asking for (a then vs now comparison), than doing an all-new version, which wouldn't directly compare like-for-like over the last quarter-century.

gcaw said,
Well, to some degree, that's what they're doing - but rather than conduct another full-scale 'snapshot', they're looking at the 1986 snapshot and doing a direct comparison between what was captured then, and how it's changed since then.

For example, on this page - http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/getinvolved - see the two pictures near the bottom of the page, along with the text above them: "Compare the Then and Now - Help us to identify the changes that have taken place over the last 25 years and build a picture of what it's like to live where you do today."

This is arguably closer to what you're asking for (a then vs now comparison), than doing an all-new version, which wouldn't directly compare like-for-like over the last quarter-century.

That's fantastic. Love it.

Hollow.Droid said,
Great idea, my coverage even in a close 'Big' town is pretty poor. Local country speeds are ridiculous (8KB/s max )

0.03Mbps sitting at my desk remind me why I'm paying for data?...

I would have done this too, but I can make my battery last for 2 days now and I don't fancy running this just to take part.
Shame as I usually always take part in large social surveys and such.

digger1985 said,
It's funny reading the butthurt from iFanboys. That's what you get from buying into a closed platform.
For all you know they may have an app for iPhone in development? Why the hate?

digger1985 said,
It's funny reading the butthurt from iFanboys. That's what you get from buying into a closed platform.

From looking at the way it works it needs to do a lot in the background i.e. multitasking, which iOS can't really do properly :-/

thealexweb said,

From looking at the way it works it needs to do a lot in the background i.e. multitasking, which iOS can't really do properly :-/

Nonsense - clearly most people have no concept of how multi-tasking actually does work on iOS - just because its different from android doesn't make it worse (it is more battery friendly through, and there are concessions which make this possible). iPhone apps can recieve background location updates and then take whatever reading at that point - in the background.....

ManMountain said,
Ofcom should be heading this survey, not the BBC.

Well since Ofcom hasn't bothered to it's better some neutral source does