back to article Ofcom coughs 3G coverage maps

The UK regulator has finally released nationwide maps of the 3G coverage available, and it will come as no surprise that anyone planning to take a dongle to the Highlands will be out of luck. It's not just the Highlands though, users will struggle anywhere with an interesting landscape - the maps overlap well with …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Neil 4

    3 May have the best coverage

    But every time I tried to use it, the signal on my phone changed from 5-bars of 3G signal to 1 bar of normal coverage.

  2. Greg J Preece

    O2 - Hahahahaha

    The perfect network on which to show off the Jesus Phone's legendary speed....

  3. Seamaster
    Jobs Halo

    O2 "best for smartphones"?

    My arse.

    (SJ, because he was right about 3G being a pointless waste of battery life on the original iPhone.)

  4. Xpositor

    3G coverage vs 3G devices

    It's a shame that an operator with one of the worst 3G coverage gets first dibs on certain handsets that benefit the most from 3G (iphone/pre).

  5. Anonymous Coward


    "How to get operators to build network where there aren't enough people to make it viable is a taxing question"

    Stop 'em quoting coverage as a %age of the population, and start making 'em quote it as a %age of land mass. With a stronger minimum signal quality to count.

    If every other - larger, more dispersed - country can sort decent signals waaaaay out into the sticks, wtf can't I get a decent signal a mile from the flamin' M25?

  6. Lunatik

    Wow, Vodafone fail

    Surprising the poor showing of Vodafone and O2, especially considering the latter's tie up of the high-end smartphone market with the data-hungry iPhone and Pre

    Glad I'm on 3; their network can be ropey at times, but works on HSPA 3G more often than not (various bits of Scotland)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    O2 and Vodafone coverage is simply shocking

    How are they allowed to get away with it? I'm 1/2 tempted to return my iphone 3gs and switch to *any* handset on 3 to get better mobile internet.



  8. Nigel Wright
    Thumb Down

    Well there's a surprise..

    Ofcom ducking the issues, obfuscating and not having the customer's best interests at heart.

    The whole mobile broadband thing boils my p*ss. Operators are selling this, contracts and dongles like wildfire, but with little mention of the VERY patchy coverage. My 3 mobile broadband coverage in my home town is dire at best, if they are the best of the bad bunch then the rest ought to hang their heads in shame...not that they will. No doubt they will keep taking the money whilst avoiding mentioning how poor the service really is.

  9. Repoman1999

    3G coverage vs. financial performance

    Hmm, some interesting insight can be gained when comparing the level of 3G coverage vs. the companies in question's financial health/performance... seems inversely proprotional to me at the moment.

  10. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    This is the sort of thing that Ofcom should be doing to justify it's public funding. Providing a useful service to the public. Too little, too late guys.

    Surley they're not trying to butter up the Tories after the kicking Cameron gave them?

  11. Pabs

    iphone fail!

    Funny how the iPhone 3g/3gs is so popular that in fact it can't be used to its full potential in most places.

  12. john loader

    They miss the visiting population

    We have rubbish mobile in parts of Wensleydale as we have hills and the permanent population isn't large. But the transient population numbers millions as we're a tourist centre. It hasn't occured to mobile operators that their customers get fed up when on holiday and they can't use their phones as they've not unreasonably chosen to holiday where not many people live

  13. Piloti

    The Conservatives.....

    ... may have a point.


  14. john loader


    be interesting to overlay a map of no 3G on a map of poor or non-existent broadband. Bet many places without 3G can't use femtocells because the broadband isn't there to support them.

  15. Nigel Wright

    Further to my comment..

    The networks are taking the mickey. Looking at those maps it would seem that they are selling mobile broadband accounts in places where there is actually no service! They really ought to be taken to task by Trading Standards for that.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    2G notspots in low population density areas

    Yesterday I was looking at Three's coverage map for where I live (outskirts of suburban south Birmingham). There are few areas with "good" coverage, and you don't have to wander very far at all (a mile or two) to be in a "no signal" area.

    Meanwhile, back in 2G land, on the M40 between those well known low density areas Birmingham and Oxford, in my experience it's near impossible to either (a) hold an uninterrupted conversation or (b) maintain an uninterrupted GPRS connection.

    Still, GSM's in its infancy, once the GSM telcos have recovered the billions they wasted on 3G licences (didn't each of them pay over £4 billion?) I'm sure they'll get back to investing in improving coverage around the country. Say around 2099 if they're lucky. By that time Three might have some decent coverage too. Maybe.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    Enough cash to pay apple not enough cash for a working network.. Shame..

    Another good reason Not to go with O2..

  18. Rob 63


    Screw 3g, I'd like to just be able to make a call thanks,

    This month I was charged £96 by o2,

    This is because as well as my usual (£45) iPhone tarriff, I was charged about £50 because I apparently send ~900 text messages in a month (Quite how I had the time with such a twatty tiny un usable keyboard, i'm not sure, then again, virtually every message I send requires a follow up because a spastic was left in charge of the dictionary - no, not me, someone at apple)

    Yet, despite paying £100 for one month of a service, I was unable to conduct a call from a landline here at a business park, to a mobile belonging to my housemate, in a city centre, without it cutting out every twenty seconds and the last minute of the call was just me hearing him go 'cant hear you' while i say 'GO AND EAT YOUR FKING LUNCH' over and over again

    Marvellous technology, well worth the money, and if you can't make a frigging phone call, after all these years, who's to expect to be able to retrieve some data from anywhere special,

    utter cak, if everyone weren't so busy whacking off over the pile of pounds they've amassed for no reason other than to whack off over, maybe the human race could progress

  19. this

    Poor maps for the money

    No place names , no useful detail , and what are those odd dotted lines?

  20. Wize

    Signal strength at my home is a joke

    Shame there is no way to check the signal strength on all the networks without buying one of their phones first.

  21. Bod

    Lol at O2

    It's no wonder I keep seeing iPhone owners twittering about lack of 3G signal.

    P.S. Vodafone and T-Mobile above Orange? Looks to me Orange has far more coverage, even in the south.

    One of the reasons I stick with Orange is not the customer service (which like everyone's is sh*t), it's the coverage, especially outside of the home counties.

    Sadly though Orange's Mobile Broadband offers are also sh*t and Vodafone/T-Mobile have some of the better PAYG mobile broadband offers.

  22. Eponymous Cowherd

    Map is either out of date or just wrong

    I'm on Vodafone with an HTC Magic. I live and work in two areas shown as no coverage on the map.

    I actually have a good 3G signal at both.

  23. jon47

    Duh! Coverage Maps have been available for ages

    Coverage maps for all GSM operators in the world are published by the GSM Assocation. UK coverage maps, including both 2G and 3G are here:

  24. adam payne


    Taking a Vodafone 3G dongle out into Derbyshire is a waste of time because I never get a decent signal unless i'm in Derby.

  25. Pabs


    Holy crap, O2 are so bad compared to the others when you look at those maps!

    Although I badly want a iPhone, I may reconsider. O2's coverage of 3g is terrible in the UK!

  26. David Roberts

    Reluctant Virgin

    I use Virgin 3G/GPRS via a dongle for Mobile Broadband.

    No mention of Virgin in the article, but it must be the worst one for coverage.

    When I can't get a connection and search for other mobile operators there are usually one or two - 3 and Voda seem to be the most common.

    However at £5 a month I can't bring myself to spend £15 a month for any of the competitors.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Oh! Look!

    It is London/South centric again.

    How long are people in the UK going to fund stuff for London/South centric minded people?

    C'mon Ofcom - get on wiv it!

  28. RichyS

    @David Roberts

    Er, Dave... Virgin is an MVNO. They don't have their own network. Instead they piggy back of T-Mobile's. So, if T-Mobile don't have coverage, neither do you.

  29. Matt Smart

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    The pdf does say that it was dated December 2008. That said, I can't see the coverage will have improved much by then.

    Seriously shocked by o2. May think twice about moving to them...

  30. Tony Sweeney

    @David Roberts

    Virgin is just a brand -- they don't have their own service, they just resell someone else's (T-Mobile, I think).

  31. TeeCee Gold badge


    Ever thought about why O2 have the iPhone and Pre?

    The thought occurs to me that this could have a lot to do with their cutting a better deal for the handset makers in question, as they know damned well that these products being offered on a network with better coverage would mean that they could kiss their user base goodbye.

    Which do you think's cheaper, investing in the network or buying a couple of well-hyped devices that come with a guarantee of joe public beating a path to your door?

  32. DM

    Sea Coverage

    I'd be interested to know the land/sea coverage ratio....

  33. Fragula

    Less coverage than a lap dancers G string then...

    Sigh no suprise.. Looks like I'm stuck with my 10 year old Nokia Communicator for a bit longer then.

    I'll carry on wearing one with a large tinfoil lined pocket.

  34. Dave Cumming


    The maps themselves are pretty laughable as they've taken a big purple marker to Edinburgh and surrounding area for O2 3G is which is a complete lie. 3G coverage in that area is spotty beyond belief.

    Surely OfCom should be all over the providers as they are selling a service which they themselves have quite clearly documented DOESN'T WORK.

  35. Alan Gauton

    3 Coverage

    3 coverage isn't too bad around Dundee/Forfar corridor - and the piggyback to 2G services worked fine when we were on holiday in Orkney. Don't think I dropped any calls, had problems in the whole 2 weeks we were there.

  36. andy 10

    Am I the only one that thinks it's tough shit

    People who live out in the country are constantly banging on about all the reasons why living in the country is so much better than living in the city, they wouldn't give it up for anything etc.

    Well there are disadvantages too... Suck it up!

    Having said that it should be made easier to find out if somewhere has coverage or not before you buy i.e somewhere to put your postcode in and it gives you full (and easy to understand) information about coverage in that, and the surrounding area.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Subjective experience says otherwise

    I kayak so spend lots of time in valleys in the wilds. Vodafone has much better 3G coverage than any of my O2 / Orange using fellow paddlers.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Norfolk has poor coverage

    Because 3G is absorbed more by people with multiple heads and webbed hands/feet.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I just took a look at those maps and compared them to the ones here in the states. I don't know how you "get operators to build network where there aren't enough people to make it viable" but the US seems to have figured it out.

    After all, I get 3g service in a dire little coal mining town 6 hours from anywhere in the goddamn mountains where the only computers are in the mine's command center.

  40. Rinsey

    At least...

    ...there will be plenty of coverage for fishermen & people who go sailing

  41. NellyD

    It's grim up north (unless you're on O2)

    "Orange is in the middle, but wins the competition for the most northerly 3G with apparent coverage somewhere around Fresgoe, though we didn't manage to confirm that with Orange."

    And don't bother trying to confirm that either. It's O2 FTW - they are the only operator pumping 3G goodness in Shetland... and you can't get any more northerly than that!

  42. Mark Stronge

    Three coverage ??

    I have a 3 dongle and a 3 mobile and while the coverage is fairly good for Northern Ireland, most of southern County Down is poor with no coverage contrary to the map shown.

    I have found the best and most detailed Three coverage maps from the Three website. You can zoom in and get very accurate results which tally with real world use.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    O2 3G+2G network holes?

    so how 'holy' is the O2 Airwave tetra network coverage??

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like