Testing carried out in public houses by mobile network measurement specialists from Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. (GWS) has revealed that patrons are still having to rely on 3G data to resolve their boozy disputes and cheat at quizzes. The reliability of 3G data ‘packets’ averaged out at 91.1% across the four major UK operators in the 14 pubs GWS tested – whereas the reliability of 4G data packets averaged out at only 65.3%.
4G connectivity was particularly poor in one of the pubs closest to No. 10 Downing Street – the Silver Cross Tavern on Whitehall– and in The Sherlock Holmes just off Northumberland Avenue. In both cases only EE’s 4G network was accessible – and only to a limited extent, suggesting that excitement surrounding the roll-out of 4G+ in the capital is still somewhat premature.
Ofcom VS the real world
GWS’ engineers experienced average 3G download speeds of 2.0 Mbps at each stop on their pub crawl; the average 4G download speeds they enjoyed were a little over double this figure at 4.3 Mbps.
These numbers, gathered at a range of well-covered central London locations, are likely to be an accurate reflection of the experiences of pub patrons, and contrast with Ofcom’s recent claims (that UK consumers enjoy average download speeds of 6.1 Mbps on 3G and 15.1 Mbps on 4G) which likely reflect potential network performance.
You might fall over in the pub – but networks won’t
Mobile operators and (most) landlords will be pleased to hear that drinkers are much more likely to fall over in pubs than the networks those drinkers use to make and receive calls. GWS’ testing team found that networks were ‘accessible’ for 97% of the time they spent testing in pubs. The average retainability of the test calls they made was 99.7% – in other words, only a tiny number of test calls ‘dropped’ part-way through. The average overall reliability of the main UK networks was 96.3% in the 14 pubs GWS tested.
Paul Carter, CEO of GWS, commented: “Great British pub culture is alive and well – but our research suggests that the days of going for ‘a quiet drink’ are over; your friends – and your boss – will have no trouble reaching punters while they’re reaching for their pints. That said, networks clearly have a lot more work to do when it comes to rolling out 4G; our data suggests that pub quiz cheats will be relying on 3G for some time yet.”
“With the right kind of political support, operators would be able to make faster progress on the 4G front – unfortunately, the misleading data put out by the regulator and the Government’s harsh ‘national roaming’ ultimatum have had the opposite effect. When these political attitudes change, consumers will benefit.”