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Ofcom: One third of Brits suffer mobile reception issues

Vodafone is the worst culprit, while EE ranks top
Tue Aug 12 2014, 13:23
Angry phone man

ONE THIRD OF BRITS suffer from mobile connectivity issues "at least every week", Ofcom has reported, with Vodafone ranking as the worst culprit.

UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom has put out its latest research on mobile phone call service quality, and it shows that there is still a lot of work to be done.

While 55 percent of those surveyed said they "never" or "hardly ever" have to put up with dropped calls or weak reception, Ofcom found that 30 percent do - with a third of Brits saying that they suffer from no mobile signal or poor call quality. We will assume the other 15 percent surveyed were indifferent.

Those living in rural areas are the worst hit, with the report noting that the number of complaints increases outside urban areas.

Vodafone is seemingly the worst culprit, according to Ofcom's research, while EE ranks as the best mobile operator for call quality, with 97 percent of calls placed on its network connecting successfully. This compares with 95.3 percent on O2, 94.5 percent on Three and 92.6 percent on Vodafone.

EE performed the best in rural areas, with 93.7 percent of all calls placed successfully connecting. No other firm passed 90 percent, though, with O2 at 87.4 percent, Three at 86 percent and Vodafone lowest at 79.9 percent. However, O2 lead the pack in urban call quality with a score of 97.7, ahead of EE's 97.5 percent. Three scored 96 percent, while Vodafone again ranked last with 95.3 percent.

EE was pretty pleased about its ranking, telling The INQUIRER in a statement, "It’s great to see our ongoing investment in phone calls reflected in Ofcom's report, confirming that we continue to provide the best call experience across the UK, particularly in rural areas.

"We're investing hundreds of millions each year in expanding the reach of our network so that more people can make phone calls in more places."

Three has also commented, saying, "Ofcom's report shows that the majority of consumers experience few issues with making calls. This data looks at one measure of network performance but Yougov's surveys of iPhone, smartphone, tablet and mobile broadband users consistently suggest our customers are the most satisfied across a number of measures.

"We continue to expand the reach and capacity of our network and to further improve our customers' experience."

O2 echoed Three's sentiments in a similar statement, telling us, "We are pleased to see that we are the best network in urban areas across England and the UK where the majority of our customers are.

"We invest £1.5M every day in our network to continue our 4G roll-out and completely modernise our 2G and 3G networks. This work is delivering faster speeds and greater coverage across the UK, ensuring our customers continue to have a great network experience."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Vodafone has yet to comment. 

Ofcom carried out the research as part of its plan to improve mobile signal and reception across the UK, and has said that EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have agreed to work with it to develop a common methodology for measuring the rates of calls successfully completed on their networks.

The watchdog is also working with the government on its £150m infrastructure investment, which is funding mobile masts in unconnected areas.

It said in its report, "Today's research is part a plan to help support initiatives to improve mobile coverage in the UK, and provide consumers with quality information on mobile reception.

"This information is important in helping consumers choose a mobile service that suits their needs. It also helps promote competition between mobile operators on service quality, to benefit consumers. Ofcom will continue to monitor and report on how service quality develops over time."

For more information on mobility, visit the Intel IT Center. µ


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