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BBC begins survey of UK mobile networks

by Hugo Jobling on 18 July 2011, 13:01

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Network coverage

The BBC has begun a survey of the UK's mobile data networks, which asks users to record their mobile Internet performance and relay the results to the BBC.

Data is being gathered via an application for Android, which enables users to record the performance of their mobile data connection, and report those details back to the BBC. The data is being collated to enable the BBC to map real-world performance of the UK's mobile data networks, across the country.

Currently, the BBC says, the data available about signal strength on various networks is either hard to find or simply inaccurate and hopes that its reach will make it possible to collect sufficient data to deliver a comprehensive and accurate survey of the actual state of mobile-data performance in the UK - independent of the claims of the operators.

The Android-only limit is a result of the BBC partnering with Epitrio to create the app. Although the BBC acknowledges that this is likely to limit participation, it also points out that Android has a rapidly growing market share, and expects many Android users to take part in its survey. It's certainly arguable that Android handset owners are more likely to be the kind of tech-savvy mobile users likely to care about the quality of the UK's mobile infrastructure.

The usefulness of the results will obviously depend on participation. However, as the BBC says: "if enough of you right across the UK do decide to take part, we could end up with something rather useful - the most detailed survey ever produced of the state of our mobile networks."



HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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Its a good idea although I can't understand why it keeps wanting to use GPS to get an exact location fix. Wouldn't cell phone tower based rough locationing be good enough for a rough map (If you load google maps with GPS off you'll know what I mean). Anyway I've had to turn off my GPS as it was beginning to kill my battery.
It needs the GPS, as that's how in notes your location when the phone cannot contact a tower, this data is then stored and forwarded once a connection is re-established.
CWH
It needs the GPS, as that's how in notes your location when the phone cannot contact a tower, this data is then stored and forwarded once a connection is re-established.

It can still use A-GPS without the need for actual GPS.

TBH if you have no signal then more often than not you're going to be inside a building where you won't get a GPS fix anyway, so it's almost entirely useless, and reduces uptake because no-one wants to install a battery hog. As evidenced by the top x number of pages of comments on the app, all rating one or two stars with anti-battery-hog reasons.
While there are a lot of Android phones out there I would have thought they would have made the app for at least a few more types of OS's. iOS, Blackberry OS & Windows phone 7, they do make up a massive proportion of smart phones.
Android seems to account for 45% of the current smartphone in the UK:

http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/36656/Apple-suffers-stunning-iPhone-market-share-slide

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/235552/blackberry_still_hugely_popular_in_britain_market_figures_show.html

It seems BlackBerry has a higher market share in the UK than Apple!

In many European countries the market share Apple had been reduced too:

http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2011/07/apple-iphone-uk-market-share-halves-to-18-3.html