The Register Monopoly Pubcrawl Mobile Map: VODAFONE VICTOR in LONDON

Unless you just want the best 4G: Then EE

Special Report Get a load of our fabtabulous interactive mobile Monopoly map - now complete with 3G/4G data results - right here

If you think “data” is what you do with your girlfriend then move on, probably to another website: there is nothing to see here. But if you think mobile data in London is interesting you need to read this.

Jasper and Simon play monopoly

Jasper and Simon wonder if network planners have a better map

In the last week of May and the first week of June, mobile survey coverage company GWS with a little bit of help from Vultures Jasper Hamill and yours truly trudged around twenty eight locations in London, taking in Old Kent Road and Whitechapel Road through to Park Lane and Mayfair which - as any Brit who’s suffered a family Christmas knows - are the squares on the London version of the Monopoly board.

The precedent for this was a similar test I worked on twenty years ago at What Mobile magazine where we tested analogue and 2G voice. Things have moved on and we wanted to see how the networks compared. We looked at 2G and 3G voice, and now here are the results for 3G and 4G data.

Stress and nervous tension are now serious social problems in all parts of the galaxy and it is in order that this situation should not be in any way exacerbated that the following facts will now be revealed without further ado: in broad outline the best 3G was from O2 and the best 4G was from EE. But Vodafone was second best at both 3G and 4G, and that in combination with being best at voice - in our view - makes Voda the overall best mobile network in London at the moment. But it should be noted that we originally set out on this quest to examine 4G data coverage specifically, and if that's your priority then EE is the winner.

Our tests, using state of the art SwissQual Freerider II backpacks, gave a tremendous level of insight into what went on with the networks. In particular by being locked to 3G and 4G respectively we could measure not just the four brands but the eight networks. The intention was not to focus on user experience, but rather the performance of each network technology (3G, 4G) deployed by the wireless operators. Hence for each of the four operators a test device was solely locked on 3G data network, while the other was solely locked onto 4G data network.

It’s important to understand how relevant 3G is. Only about 10% of the UK mobile base has a 4G enabled subscription – although more may have 4G capable phones. National coverage of 4G is rolling out apace but it’s still early days. So with only a few of the people using 4G some of the time, 3G is for most of us where it is at.

Of course this is The Register, the most tech-savvy readership on the web, so 4G matters more here than the UK numbers might suggest. Also we were looking at London so 4G signal is going to be better than in most places.

Three had the poorest 4G network coverage overall. At Trafalgar Square the Three 4G network is practically non-existent giving 8% reliability. Ironically when What Mobile did its test twenty years ago we uncovered a major Vodafone hole in the same spot. At Coventry Street and Northumberland Avenue Three only had 57% reliability and at another six locations reliability less than 90%.

O2’s 4G network struggles in Mayfair providing 63% (whereas its 3G network had nearly 100%). At Vine Street, Bow Street and Trafalgar Square reliability for O2 4G was less than 90%.

For the rankings we measured the networks on upload speed, download speed and task success rate to measure reliability.

For 4G, EE stood out top in all categories. Vodafone came joint top on reliability second on speed. O2 was third on speed and reliability and it was a straight fourth place in every category for Three 4G.

On 3G things were very different. Vodafone and O2 shared the top spot for reliability while O2 came top for speed and the others tied for second position. This put O2 top with Vodafone a whisker behind, Three third and EE fourth.

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021