3G coverage is not much cop says watchdog

Ofcom maps British broadband quality

British telecoms regulator Ofcom has released interactive maps that depict the state of mobile coverage including 3G data services across the country.

Ofcom also published an updated Communications Infrastructure Report (pdf) which revealed good 2G network coverage of homes with 97 per cent of premises having a signal enough to make a call from outside their home.

That said, when considering total geographic coverage of plain 2G mobile, one third of the country has no signal at all. Worse, just 13 per cent of the UK by geographic coverage is covered by 3G although 73 per cent of homes receive a signal from the five 3G networks overall.

The Ofcom maps only go as far as local authority regions which Ofcom admitted "do not provide an insight into how ‘patchy’ the coverage from each provider is" within each county.

As you would expect, the worst areas of coverage include the comparatively rough terrain of the Scottish highlands and Wales. Both of which have particularly poor coverage from mobile networks and are virtually a non starter as far as 3G goes.

The Ofcom report also pointed towards a surging appetite for broadband with a seven-fold increase in data usage over the last five years.

"On average, residential fixed broadband customers are using 17GB of data per month. This figure ranges from 10GB to 40GB between operators," Ofcom said in the report.

Those using mobile broadband use just 240MB per month per connection.

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