Why is 3G coverage/speed in the UK a bit rubbish

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  • Why is 3G coverage/speed in the UK a bit rubbish
  • Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    I’m on Vodafone, if that matters.

    Well that’s one reason their data network is shocking, I’ve been with them for about 15 years but when my contract comes up for renewal I’ll be switching as it’s making owning a smartphone almost pointless.

    The other reason is probably population is greater here so more users.

    tonyd
    Member

    I think Vodafone might be part of the problem. I’m with them also and find the data service awful. 3G is slow and quite often in town centres etc I find I’m on GPRS.

    I’ve been on Vodafone for years (work phone) so have no direct comparison, but friends and family on other networks seem to fayre better.

    samuri
    Member

    my guesses are contention due to a much higher population, and some quite strict rules about antenna density. No idea what Sweden’s rules are like.

    IHN
    Member

    Hmm, might be switching from Vodafone then.

    deviant
    Member

    In the UK it’s average at best, most times it’s like using dial-up…

    I’m on Vodafone, if that matters.

    3G in the UK is generally good, its one of the reasons why 4G uptake has been so slow.
    The US had terrible 3G data so they cant get enough of 4G/LTE now its available.

    Your problem is the Vodafone network, switch to 3, they have he largest 3G coverage. Even in the house i often forget to switch on wi-fi as the 3G speed is good enough not to notice that wi-fi isnt switched on.

    IHN
    Member

    On the population front, I was using the phone in the centre of a major city during an event when there were a lot of visitors, so I’d imagine that the (local, at least) network ‘load’ must have been similar to a city in the UK

    Virgin which uses EE is very quick. 2.5 Mbps in my house and 7+ in the town centre.

    Premier Icon somouk
    Subscriber

    It’s not just local population but also back haul contention and speeds as well with mobile data.

    O2 for example has rubbish back haul which is why their 3G and now to be their 4G is struggling to keep up with the likes of EE who have an overall faster network.

    Even on 3G sitting in a city center the difference in speed between my O2 phone and EE phone is significant, 3 Mbps on O2 and 7 Mbps on EE for identical phones.

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    Glad it’s not just me with Vodafone then.

    In urban centres they’re fine. I do a lot of work in and around Bristol & Bath (both quite hilly cities…does that make a difference)? In the centre of town, it’s fine (if a little slow at times) but outside town, it’s just beyond useless.

    Anyone else find they never have 3G when they most need Google Maps to navigate out of where you’ve got lost? 🙂

    wrightyson
    Member

    Sat here on my trusty i4 with a 3G signal pick up the i5 work phone again on ee and nothing. It truly is shit unless you’re sat under a mast!

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    I think the Swedish government invested quite heavily in their comms infrastructure. They see it as giving the country a competitive advantage, rather than just an opportunity to charge licensing and leave it to the vagaries of the markets.

    Also are you sure you weren’t getting LTE(4g) over in Sweden? They were one of the first countries to roll it out, and the charges are lower to the consumer than most countries pay for 3g.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Yeah believe VF have had a lot of problems with the O2 RAN share and it’s really buggered up their coverage an data quality. At least that’s one way to make your customers think they need 4G 🙂

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    vodafone 3g is awful ime, actually it just convinces me that paying extra for 4g would be a further waste

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Must admit I’ve been impressed with Three. Was streaming iPlayer content on the iPad for blobby jr the other day while driving from Nottingham to Liverpool without any problems. Made me wonder why I’d want 4g. Whenever I checked my phone on Vodafone though I was on GPRS and had woeful data for most of the journey. The only thing that really keeps me on Vodafone is the roaming costs.

    IHN
    Member

    Admittedly, i’m only comparing it to Sweden, but when I used 3G over there it wasn’t far off the speed I get on the wireless network at home.

    In the UK it’s average at best, most times it’s like using dial-up…

    Is there some technical reason why the UK’s 3G isn’t as good as it could be?

    I’m on Vodafone, if that matters.

    grum
    Member

    3G on 3 is pretty damn good (apart from in quite a bit of London). I often watch streaming video and it works fine almost all the time. Unlimited data too.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    another vodafone 3G sufferer here.

    Ive been with them for about 8 yrs now. We usually stick with them because their roaming costs are by far and away the cheapest if you spend long trips in Europe (especially data for working).

    But Im fed up of their awful 3G service. Its even crap at Paddington in rushhour. They just havent invested in the infrastructure like others have. I dont even need 4G. Just please give me reliable coverage on 3G.

    Im thinking of going to 3 (I wont use giffgaff as O2 are not much better than VF). At elast we dont have a contract with VF for our two work phones.

    hilldodger
    Member

    4G on EE
    wooooosh 🙂

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    the trouble is vf offered me the same deal as giffgaff, id go to them but ive heard that their service isnt much better!

    theres no way id pay 4g prices, thats just silly, who else is there?

    codybrennan
    Member

    Spoiler: I work behind the scenes for Vodafone, and 3G coverage outside of the major conurbations is nothing special. The fix for VF is 4G, and the “mast-sharing” and own-build for this will deliver something with far more oomph than 3G, which is pretty lacklustre. I’m quite excited about 4G tbh.

    For my money, in a non-scientific, just roaming about with various SIMs sort of way, O2/GiffGaff has given me the best data availability in general.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Yeah interesting that 4g is seen as a fix that the consumer is expected to pay a premium for! Though it’s understandable that operators are trying to recoup the massive investment required for LTE. And I suspect VF will say they are charging extra for the larger data allowances. I have had a play with VF 4G though and it is pretty impressive where there is coverage (but then so was their 3G at launch!)

    Interesting to hear Three say their customers will automatically become 4g customers when they launch their 4g network, not that I think they really need it given the speed and consistency of their 3G network.

    richardk
    Member

    Cost of 3G licence fees in UK – $7.7Beeeellion (each)
    in Sweden – $10K (plus 0.15% turnover)

    Might explain why they have more money to invest in the network rather than funding governments…

    codybrennan
    Member

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9882387/Blow-for-Osborne-as-Government-raises-1-bn-less-than-expected-from-4G-auction.html

    And of course its now been mooted that a ‘top up’ fee will be expected to be a paid by providers because the expected revenue failed to materialise.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Yes, UK massively competitive market as well in terms of what people are prepared to pay. Was in a presentation recently by Verizon and was amazed at how much more their US customers pay for services compared to UK customers. Not sure what it’s like in Sweden.

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    Not sure what it’s like in Sweden.

    Cheaper than the UK.

    A 1 month 4g 20gb simcard costs about 20gbp

    stumpy01
    Member

    Very rarely bother switching my phone over to wi-fi at home as I get just as fast a connection using the 3G network on Three.

    Been very impressed with Three so far, since moving to them earlier this year from T-Mobile.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    tbh wifi at work and at home

    commute everywhere by bike, so dont need to browse on the way to work

    dont really enjoy watching tv on my phone anyway (ive got a nice big tv and sound system at home thats waaay better)

    only really use the phone to browse when wifey is watching bakeoff or im having a pooh and they are all within wifi range!

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    or im having a pooh and they are all within wifi range!

    I’ve often wondered what I did when having one at work before the days of smartphones 🙂

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    You could always move to Sweden…

    Premier Icon ffej
    Subscriber

    Centre of Southampton… two iphone 4s’s on EE and Vodafone, 4.14 Mbps for EE and 1.24Mbps with Vodafone. I can see both cell masts (they’re on our buildings!)

    Vodafone is bobbins.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    3G in the UK is generally good, its one of the reasons why 4G uptake has been so slow.

    The other reason uptake has been so slow compared to other major EU countries is that EE limited 4G service didn’t even start until at least a year or even 2 years after other countries, and other providers’ 4G service is only just starting.
    We’ve had 4G LTE around here since 2010.
    Very possible Sweden is similar. edit: yup since 2009 in fact.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    On Orange my 3G was always great, much faster download than my home broadband. Never had any trouble at all.

    I’m now on 4G because they offered it to me for -£2 per month.

    Does Sweden ban the locking of phones to networks? Finland does (or did), and that meant that they can’t subsidise the cost of the handset with the monthly payment. So the monthly payment was cheap but you had to pay full whack for the handset.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    takisawa2 – Member
    You could always move to Sweden…

    just to have a pooh

    not likely

    IME 3 was really good in a dongle and EE is crap on 3G phone. The dongle probably has as much to do with it though as my parents have a 3 dongle too and its upto 2x as quick again in the aame place.

    theres a 4g EE mast outside my window here and I barely get 3g so thats peeing me off.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    EE on a 3G phone, that’ll just be the Orange/T-Mobile 3G network then.

    hilldodger
    Member

    theres no way id pay 4g prices, thats just silly…

    well I don’t know what anyone else pays for what service level but I got galaxy s4 mini upgrade on EE 4G with 1Gb data 300 minutes and unlimited txts for 26ppm
    oh plus a 6ppm insurance which I can cancel no hassles after 3 months so 32ppm for 3 months then 26ppm.
    Have no idea if that’s considered cheap, but a quid per day for pretty decent phone and fast service is certainly affordable (for me)

    hora
    Member

    My 3 mobile used to get 3G signal, then 4 months after I took out contract it just says ‘H’. What does this mean? Am I being a tad cynical?

    Premier Icon verses
    Subscriber

    When I had 3G on T-Mobile/EE, I used to be able to stream internet radio for near enough the full length of the A1. Since I switched to O2 I can’t really do it at all, it rarely gets a stronger than 2G signal for the journey…
    It’s fine once in most towns/citys though.

    rickt
    Member

    For me…. I get coverage from all the big phone companies around my area, however indoors at home only vodafone works, I have tried many sims in different phones (. Plus friends have tried) and only vodafone works in the house…

    Do any of the mobile companies do the sure signal boxes which vodafone do you know ?? (I don’t need one of them either for vodafone)

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