The BBC have released the results from their mobile coverage crowd-sourcing survey that has been looking into coverage of both 2G and 3G services across the UK. 44,600 participants volunteered by running an app on their Android mobile phone handset which gathered network availability data, collating nearly 1.7 million hours worth of data. The BBC worked with Epitiro to gather the data and produce a snapshot map showing coverage.
"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. Over 44,000 volunteers from the Shetland Islands to the Isles of Scilly participated with 42 million locations tested from every county in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For the first time consumers have the means to see 3G coverage precisely where they live, work and travel."Gavin Johns, (Chief Executive) Epitiro
The data gathered showed that there are still large areas where 3G coverage is unavailable, and this includes major towns and cities. Testers were only able to receive a 3G signal for around 75% of the time and had to rely on the slower 2G network for nearly a quarter of the time. Unsurprisingly, rural areas fared worst, and North Wales has been deemed the worst coverage area, by a similar project called OpenSignalMaps.
A big disclaimer should be advised though- the data is just a snapshot so doesn't necessarily mean that you will see the same when in a specific area. 3G coverage also varies based on network load, so whilst you are able to get good 3G signal at one point in the day in a specific location, this might not be the case later as the coverage area of a cell may shrink depending on the number of users and how much data is being used on that cell site.
Network operators were largely content with the coverage map, with Everything Everywhere, parent company to T-Mobile and Orange suggesting that Ofcom should take up the cause and develop the map further. With more data, the map could prove a useful asset to the industry.