A crowd-sourcing study that has involved over 44,000 participants suggests that 3G coverage in the UK is far below the 90 per cent or more claimed by operators.
Those involved in the BBC-sponsored initiative were asked to download an Android app that measured and collected 3G coverage wherever they were. The results found that a 3G connection was only possible for 75 per cent of the time, with dead-spots being recorded in UK cities and major towns.
The survey, which was undertaken by Epitiro on behalf of the BBC, saw the 44,600 testers collect 1.7 million hours of data from around the UK across 42 million locations.
"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," Epitiro CEO Gavin John said, as reported by the BBC News.
UK operators seemed relaxed in their response to these poor results, with a Vodafone spokeswoman saying that the survey was an interesting experiment in crowd-sourcing data.
"It adds another perspective to the maps we already provide to our customers to check the coverage in their area and across the country," she told the Daily Telegraph. "We invest millions of pounds each year in further improving the network. It's always useful to see data from such a wide base and as the volume of data increases we'll be watching with interest and using it to help us build on our strengths and identify areas that require additional attention."
O2 UK was less content with the results, claiming: "The issue of coverage is no longer about covering the land mass to meet a percentage target, but about depth and quality of experience," a spokesman told the Telegraph. "The results don't show the ‘experience' on each network - for example, speed or the ability to hold a connection. Simply having coverage does not guarantee a good service."
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