Are you being served by your mobile phone network?

Which? has teamed up with independent mobile coverage experts OpenSignal to investigate the service offered bythe UK’s four mobile phone networks based on the experiences of thousands of customers.

OpenSignal’s “State of the Market” report, produced in association with Which?, looked at the 3G and 4G mobile signals of 39,294 phone users of the EE, O2, Three and Vodafone networks and found big differences in coverage and speeds across the country.

The report, based on unique research methods, draws on more than 67 million data readings crowd-sourced from consumers using the OpenSignal app.  It found:

  • For both 3G and 4G coverage, London is the best and Wales the worst;
  • Three has the best 3G coverage, with Vodafone users experiencing the poorest; however Vodafone users enjoy the fastest 4G speeds with Three the slowest 4G network;
  • EE has the best 4G coverage with Three the worst;

We also found 4G speed in the UK has almost halved in the past 12 months, likely as a result of more people signing up to 4G and using the network.

This research differs from the computer models used by other organisations that predict coverage to give a picture based on consumers’ actual experiences. Other modelling also does not take into account real world conditions, such as whether the user is indoors or outdoors, physical obstructions that block the signal or how busy the network is at the time.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“We’ve looked at consumers’ real-life experiences and found big differences in service between mobile phone providers, depending on where you live or work.  We’re calling on providers to publish the reliability and speeds their networks actually achieve so people can make an informed choice before signing on the dotted line.

“We also support the Government’s action on mobile roaming to rid the country of unnecessary ‘not spots’, so that a lostmobile phone signal becomes a thing of the past.”

Head of marketing at OpenSignal, Samuel Johnston, said:

“We hope this report can draw better attention to the current state of mobile network coverage in the UK, and help consumers better understand how the networks differ in terms of speed and real-world coverage. We encourage everyone to download the free OpenSignal app to help contribute to our impartial coverage maps; so that no one will have to rely on guesswork when it comes to getting the best signal in their area”

Notes for editors:

1. OpenSignal produce independent maps of mobile coverage, crowdsourcing their data from an App downloaded almost ten million times on Android and iOS. The OpenSignal app helps users get a better mobile connection in real time, and allows consumers to participate in the world’s biggest signal crowdsourcing project – helping to change the information imbalance between providers and the public.

All OpenSignal data is based on information shared by their users – with almost 40,000 active UK users this allows a comprehensive survey of network performance across the country. OpenSignal automatically collects data on speed and coverage 24/7. OpenSignal believes its data is more representative of the true state of networks than existing testing methods, as it measures the network where people actually spend time (including inside their homes and office) rather than estimating coverage based on computer modelling, which can be performed at peak times and with high end devices.

For coverage – the OpenSignal app checks the type of connection each user has every 15 minutes, a totally automated process that does not require the user to provide any active input beyond enabling the feature.

For network speeds – this data is collected from speed tests run by OpenSignal users, who use the app to check the quality of their connection. The app also runs speed tests in the background, in order to make the data more representative of all times and areas.

For press information on OpenSignal please contact Samuel Johnston:07810 480078 /

2. The full findings can be accessed by visiting:

[Before embargo lifts, report can be accessed via username:opensignal / password: opensignalpreview]

3. Which? has free consumer rights advice around what you can do if you receive poor mobile phone signal:

Press Release: , ,