A new study by Global Wireless Solutions has revealed how unreliable mobile network coverage is along some of London’s key commuter routes. Read on to find out which networks are letting travellers down…
You'd expect mobile coverage to be pretty good around London, but a new report has revealed those who commute to the big city often receive a somewhat spotty service.
Network performance company Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) tested the reliability of mobile networks across 10 of the most popular commuter routes in and out of London. It found that one in three mobile internet activities fails and one in seven voice calls drop while on trains.
The study revealed that O2, EE and Vodafone all lost 3G connectivity and switched to 2G - older mobile network technology that's less reliable, drops call quality considerably and through which you can't get online.
GWS testers found they were on 2G for more than 60% of their journey on O2's network, and almost a third of calls used half-rate codecs, speech coding systems that expand network capacity at the expense of inferior call quality.
Testers using EE switched to a 2G network 42% of the time, but calls only used half-rate codecs 3% of the time. Vodafone switched to its 2G network 40% of the time during tests, with 8% of calls using half-rate codecs.
Overall, Three, which doesn't have a 2G network, was found to be the most reliable for calls, Vodafone was best for 3G and EE was the best for 4G.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was while on the train between stations that most calls failed. However, while one in five data tasks - doing stuff on the internet, to you and me - failed while on open track, a quarter failed while testers were on the train sitting at stations.
The station with the worst connectivity was St Pancras, where 99% of calls and mobile internet tasks were unsuccessful. Inevitably, GWS took the opportunity to force out a Harry Potter reference: "It's hard to believe we're in 2014 and in a situation whereby a trained wizard would have a tough time getting a signal on the Hogwarts Express while it's sitting in St. Pancras.
Other poorly connected stations included Radlett - an average of 53% of calls and data tasks failed, Kentish Town, where 43% failed, and Upminster, where 42% failed.