Tag Archives: mobile phone coverage

Mobile reception not up to scratch on UK trains

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Mobile reception train-hack-featured-1not up to scratch on UK trains

Study reveals half of UK train commuters face poor and unreliable mobile connectivity

Cobham Wireless, providers of mobile communications systems, reports that commuters are frustrated with the state of mobile signal reception on train journeys up and down the UK. Results of a national online survey indicate that 52% of passengers are prevented from working some of the time during their commute, potentially stopping them from being able to check emails, stay in touch with clients and colleagues or access files remotely.
 
The survey, conducted by YouGov, which polled over 2,000 consumers across Britain revealed passengers’ frustrations about the lack of mobile connectivity during their commute or business trip, which was preventing them from working on train journeys. The survey canvassed the opinions of commuters that use train routes throughout the UK, with half of their journeys lasting longer than 30 minutes.

Despite the option to use Wi-Fi on some train services the results of the survey clearly indicated a strong preference among respondents (51%) to connecting to the internet via their mobile provider compared to connecting to a public Wi-Fi network (36%). When asked why they prefer to connect to the internet using their mobile service, a resounding 63% expressed concerns about the security of Wi-Fi networks on trains; also 41% disliked having to share personal information to connect to train Wi-Fi.

The survey also revealed that the quality of mobile phone reception on trains up and down the UK varies.

  • Only 33% of passengers felt that mobile signal reception was good enough to connect them to the internet.
  • Up to a quarter (24%) didn’t rate their service at all, stating that mobile phone coverage was poor.

Even train Wi-Fi doesn’t make the grade:

  • Only 13% of commuters stating that the service was any good.
  • Another 22% stated that Wi-Fi wasn’t available at all on their train route.

Ingo Flömer, Director of Product Management, Cobham Wireless said: “The research has revealed that in these hyper connected times the majority of commuters expect to be able to connect to the internet on trains via their mobile service provider. Unfortunately, because of a lack of mobile phone coverage passengers find it difficult to work during their business commute, unable to browse the internet, send emails, or even make phone calls.

“On-board Wi-Fi doesn’t live up to expectations either. Rail passengers would much rather stay connected to the internet via their mobile service because it’s more secure and more convenient to use. This is good news for mobile operators and the rail companies looking to improve the standard of service they offer to their customers, giving them the opportunity to satisfy the demand for better quality mobile coverage on trains,” added Flomer.

He concluded: “Passengers are already frustrated with disruptions to rail services caused by delays, industrial action and maintenance, with major works taking place at Waterloo station in London and on services between Cardiff and Newport. These frustrations are compounded by train fares increasing year on year. The results of the study are clear, more investment in mobile phone coverage would go a long way to improving passenger’s train journey experience and ensure they stay connected to work during their busy commute.”

Source: Cobham Wireless/YouGov

Consumers and businesses set to benefit from guaranteed £5b investment into UK’s mobile infrastructure

base stnCulture Secretary Sajid Javid today (Thursday) announces a landmark deal with the four mobile networks to improve mobile coverage across the UK.

As part of its long-term economic plan, the Government has secured a binding agreement with the mobile networks EE, O2, Three and Vodafone to tackle poor signal issues in so-called ‘partial not-spots’.

These are areas within the UK that have coverage from some but not all of the four mobile networks. Depending on the network consumers are on, they may have no coverage in these areas.

Under the agreement all four of the mobile networks have collectively agreed to:

  • a guaranteed £5bn investment programme to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017;
  • guaranteed voice and text coverage from each operator across 90 per cent of the UK geographic area by 2017, halving the areas currently blighted by patchy coverage as a result of partial ‘not-spots’;
  • full coverage from all four mobile operators will increase from 69 per cent to 85 per cent of geographic areas by 2017;
  • provide reliable signal strength for voice for each type of mobile service (whether 2G/3G/4G) – currently many consumers frequently lose signal or cannot get signal long enough to make a call; and
  • make the deal legally binding by accepting amended licence conditions to reflect the agreement – it will be enforceable by Ofcom.

No cash payments will be made by Government to the mobile networks as part of this agreement.

This deal will also result in cutting total ‘not-spots’ where there is currently no mobile coverage by two-thirds. This will support the Government’s existing £150m programme to take mobile coverage to the areas of the UK that have no coverage at all.

As a result of the agreement, many areas will receive better data coverage, some for the first time. During the recent consultation process, consumers made it very clear that they feel any solution should include better data coverage.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“I am pleased to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks. Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts.

“Government and businesses have been clear about the importance of mobile connectivity, and improved coverage, so this legally binding agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves. The £5bn investment from the mobile networks in the UK’s infrastructure will help drive this Government’s long-term economic plan.”

Whilst discussions with the mobile operators on a voluntary solution continued, the Government consulted on various legislative options in November 2014 to ensure that the issue of poor mobile coverage was addressed. This voluntary binding agreement secures a better deal for consumers and businesses as it:

  • will halve partial not-spots and reduce complete not-spots by almost two-thirds;
  • guarantees £5bn investment by mobile networks in the UK’s mobile infrastructure – potentially creating jobs and a boost for the UK economy; and
  • provides some of the best coverage of any major European country – underpinning the Government’s long-term economic plan.

As part of the agreement, the Government:

  • will bring this agreement to the attention of Ofcom in the context of their work to revise Annual Licence Fees – this is the subscription fee mobile networks pay Government;
  • intends to reform the out-dated and ineffective Electronic Communications Code to make it easier for the whole communications sector to rollout out new mobile and broadband services, and increase choice for consumers; and
  • is allowing many of the Government’s freehold buildings to be used as sites for mobile infrastructure – potentially opening up hundreds of sites to boost mobile coverage, including areas where is has been previously difficult to rollout network coverage.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said:

“EE is focused on bringing the best voice and data service to its customers across the UK, and only last week announced 1,500 unconnected villages will soon benefit from EE coverage. This agreement ensures that our customers are able to stay connected in even more places up and down the country.”

Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer of O2, said:

“A partnership between government and the mobile operators is required to maximise coverage across the UK, so this agreement is a good outcome for our customers. It will support investment in our network, while ensuring that strong competition remains between the different networks.”

Dave Dyson, Chief Executive of Three, said:

“We’ve doubled the size of our network in the past five years and we continue to invest to maintain a great network experience for our customers. Today’s agreement reflects the strength of our network today, our plans for the future and our commitment to bring its benefits to more people and more places than ever before.”

A Vodafone UK spokesperson said:

“We support the Government’s objective of delivering better coverage to rural areas including partial not spots. This is why Vodafone is already spending £1 billion on our network and services in the UK this year alone and will continue to spend a similar amount next year as well.

“The voluntary industry commitment we have agreed with the Government today will deliver 90 per cent of the UK’s land mass with voice services and a major improvement in mobile internet coverage as well. It is a great result for UK consumers and businesses and it will make the UK a leader across Europe in terms of the reach of mobile coverage.”

Mobile networks will now take forward their plans to improve mobile coverage and Ofcom will monitor progress regularly. The Secretary of State expects the operators to meet an interim goal in 2016, and will be receiving updates on this.