Back in July the BBC created a free mobile app that allowed users to share their mobile coverage data with it and network analysis company Epitiro, with the aim of producing an independent survey of the extent of mobile - and especially 3G - coverage across the UK.
In the end over 44,000 people downloaded the app and today the Beeb published the findings in the form of an interactive map, which allows you to search post-codes and zoom in and out.
You can access the interactive map here, and at first glance it seems quite useful - offering an apparently quite detailed map of 2G and 3G coverage in your local area. But the crowdsourced nature of this survey resulted in many gaps, meaning this is far from authoritative.
This is useful is where figures were available, but phone users were only able to get 2G, rather than 3G coverage. The Beeb is calling these ‘notspots', and claims it's evidence that operators still have a way to go with their 3G networks. Anyone who has tried to use Google Maps, for example, even in Central London, will already know this to be the case.
The operators were benignly indulgent of the Beeb's efforts, treating it as the dilettante first effort it was. "O2 said it ‘welcomed the crowd sourcing experiment', but added that more detail - for example signal quality - would have been useful," said the Beeb report. "Everything Everywhere - the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile - said it ‘was a step in the right direction' for offering consumers transparent information about coverage."
They seem to be saying: "OK BBC, you've had your fun. Now how about you go back to covering the news instead of trying to make it? There's a good state broadcaster, pat-pat."