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back to article Quarter of Brits don't believe that cell towers improve phone reception

Just over three-quarters of UK residents recognise that being near a base station improves one's mobile reception, which makes one wonder how the rest think cellular phones work. The numbers come from the Mobile Operators Association, which got YouGov to ask 2,500 people about mobile coverage and turned up that nugget along with …

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Heading translation "one in four Brits are morons"

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I'm surprised the figure is so low.

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Headmaster

no surprise here

Was in discussions with Estate Agent about house sale and reminded her I was sailing in the Atlantic to Greenland for the following fortnight so could not be contacted till I got back.

Her response "but arn't you taking your mobile with you?"

Further discussions revealed she had no idea where Greenland was.

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Paris Hilton

Re: no surprise here

@peter 45: In her defense, anybody can miss Greenland, all tucked away down there.

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To quote George Carlin

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.

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Anonymous Coward

"one in four Brits are morons"

That's what happens when you have tax and welfare systems designed to counteract the effects of evolution.

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Meh

Re: "one in four Brits are morons"

About one in two or one in three in the USA.

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WTF?

@Wade Burchette

No Paris...don't you have Greenland and The Bush confused?

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Anonymous Coward

Morons

I listened to 20-30 minutes of Radio 1 the other day: clearly there's a lot of morons who listen to the radio!

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Anonymous Coward

That's not too bad...

By definition nearly half of the population must be below average intelligence.

(Depending on your definitions of course)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "one in four Brits are morons"

"That's what happens when you have tax and welfare systems designed to counteract the effects of evolution."

As opposed to systems where a small group of inbred lack-wits are the only ones who can afford to live comfortably because they've inherited all the money and power? Tell me, how does this fit in with your skewed ideas of what evolution is?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: no surprise here

Inmarsat?

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Facepalm

@ Thorne

judging by the pile-up at the ticket barriers as people figure out how to operate them, a good portion of the 25% can be found on the early trains into Liverpool street this morning.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ Thorne

Or they've just never used them before, took slightly longer to swipe their ticket than the 0.1 seconds that the average Londoner can be patient for and as a result were branded an idiot by people like yourself?

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Paris Hilton

Misunderstood question?

Do most people equate "reception" with "does it work well"?

If so, it could be that network congestion, not link signal strength is the determining factor.

I get a nice strong 5 bars signal, but 3g is rubbish in the evening when everyone gets home and starts playing with their phones or wireless internet.

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Well, to be fair

It depends on how the question is phrased. Does being "near" a base station improve my mobile reception, clearly to an extent yes, but within a certain radius it's going make bugger all difference. And anyone working in a high office block will know that you can be just a few floors below the base station on the roof and still get horrid reception because the transceivers are focussed on surrounding areas, not directly below.

To summarise - ask a silly question....

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Anonymous Coward

<Pedant_mode>

They would be correct too. A cell tower can't make a phone receive signals from a mast better, that's down to the design of the antenna in the phone.

If you had asked do more cell towers improve the quality of mobile phone coverage then that might have had a different response.

</Pedant_mode>

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Headmaster

There's an old saying - "never ascribe to pedantry what can be more easily ascribed to stupidity". Or something like that.

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The 'Association is also keen to point out that while almost 70 per cent of us access government resources in our computers, one-tenth that number do so from a mobile phone, a figure the 'Association turns into a plea for more base stations.

Yeah that has nothing to do with basestations and everything to do with how terrible the government websites are to navigate. And they're even worse on the mobile versions.

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Facepalm

Also...

I tend to have rather more exciting things to be getting on with when gadding about than interacting with government websites.

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Anonymous Coward

It's true...

If I stand right next to an O2 cell tower.... my Vodafone signal does not improve !!

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"which makes one wonder how the rest think cellular phones work"

By holding them the right way, of course.

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or telepathy....

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Anonymous Coward

meh...

Yes, all those people who don't understand how mobile telephony work are stupid, but all the people who comment here and keep banging on about how climate change is all made up by a conspiracy of idiot scientists are really smart.

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Re: meh...

Please take your pathetic attempt to start a flame war somewhere else. We get enough of that shit on actual climate related articles without you trying to starting them here too. Go troll elsewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: meh...

I wasn't really trying to troll, although I do admit that, reading it back, it does look rather trolly. What I was trying to do is point out that there are a lot of people here who will be happy to sneer at the stupid people who don't understand about how radio communications work. However, many of these people also make comments about climate which would result in the same sort of derision at the Met Office or many universities. It was more of a "get your own house in order before you start sneering at other people" type of comment.

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Re: meh...

It's really quite widespread amongst people who actually are rather clever at the stuff they do know about. They look at another complicated industry or field - climatology, railways, broadband, water distribution - and determine that because that industry has failed to reach absolute technical perfection it must be down to the people who work in that industry being complete idiots. Complete idiots who are probably corrupt, and who actually plan their work to incorporate as much evil as possible.

It's a stunning lack of empathy - whatever industry you are in, if you've spent 20 years being educated and trained and gaining experience and have tried to wrestle with whatever big problems are prevalent in your field - why would you not then consider that people in other industries are similarly skilled, intelligent and committed?

Railways - Trains can't run in every conceivable weather and can be expensive - must be caused by idiots.

Broadband - High speed connections are expensive & geographically limited - caused by idiots.

Water distribution - Lots of leakage, hosepipe bans in summer, no national network - caused by idiots.

In reality, most problems of this type are caused by the need to compromise the best technical solutions with the available funds - which for most industries means the price model the market will support. Or put another way - you get what you pay for at both a macro and a micro level. There's no idiocy involved - apart from perhaps government not realising that the privatisation of utilities and the subsequent race to the bottom in pricing might not be the best model for sustained, sensible infrastructure investment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: meh...@Terry Barnes

"Water distribution - Lots of leakage, hosepipe bans in summer, no national network - caused by idiots."

Well actually it is. As somebody with two degrees, and having spent many years mananging the capital programme of a major water supplier, I think I'm well placed to comment on this one. I'll put it in a nutshell: National Grid Gas lose somewhat less than half of one per cent of the gas put into supply, and that's with an invisible and compressed gas (doesn't even smell in the NTS, 'cos the smell's not been added). The water companies lose around 20% of the water they put into supply. And that "around" is as good as it gets, because there's no accurate measuring of water supplied by the treatment works, so nobody even knows that the starting value is.

The key think that drives leakage is network age, and the way you fix it is to renew the network, prioritising according to what leakage data you have estimated, and correlating facts like burst frequency and condition surveys. So why do we still lose a fifth of our water? Because there's four lots of idiots involved.

1) Customers are idiots to expect perfect service on the cheap; Either accept the leakage and restrictions, or accept the need for higher bills to renew networks at three to five times the current rate, for a period of fifteen years. Last time I looked the renewal rate for water mains in the UK implied they would need to last an average of one hundred years, and sewers two hundred.

2) Water companies are idiots for not putting the straight facts out there as a choice for people to make. They know the facts, but the decisions are made by the next two groups of idiots.

3)) The regulator is an idiot. Well, maybe that's overdoing it, as OFWAT have been one of our better (if unrecognised) regulators. Even so, OFWAT should have taken the lead on encouraging the right things to be done, rather than being a patsy for my next group of idiots:

4) Politicians are idiots (and thieves, and liars, and hypocrites). In 1997 water bill increases were limited by the Blair government telling OFWAT to reign in water company capex. That was purely to be seen to do something about the fat cat water industry ahead of the election, but to achieve that OFWAT had to reduce the permitted network renewal investment programme. So playing silly beggars in Parliament reduced the rate of network renewal, then the very same people stand up and spout rubbish about water companies not fixing leaks. The EU deserves a dishonourable mention here for things like the nitrates directive, that cost billions to introduce on the basis of some vague and unproven links between the rare blue baby syndrome and nitrate levels in water. The billions spent on that could have been spent on renewing the pipes, instead of pointless changes to harmless residues in water. I could go on at length, but you hopefully get the point.

You suggest that privatistion is a race to the bottom - I'd just like to point out that the sorry state of the British public sector water services in 1989 was down to fifty years of public sector mismanagement, inefficiency, and under-investment, and the private sector is still working to over come this on a shoestring budget.

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how near is "near"

> Just over three-quarters of UK residents recognise that being near a base station improves one's mobile reception.

Considering you can get a mobile phone signal all the way on the Ayrshire->Belfast ferries (and quite possibly the Holyhead->Dublin ones as well), it comes down to your definition of "Near".

Yes, when you prompt your average-person-on-the-street to think about it, they will realise that each tower has a limited capacity, and if everyone and their dog is using their mobiles, then more towers are needed (or tighter directional cells on towers)

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Unhappy

Nice strong HSPA+ signal here

giving 10kbps (yes, that's kbps) download speed. Too many smartphones trying to use the same mast.

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Facepalm

I'm not overly surprised.

I remember seeing a small community actively campaign against a new tower being located in their village, due to it's proximity to a school. They were successful and the tower was never built, however within a month the local paper ran a story in which they all complained about the rubbish mobile signal.

Tower and rubbish signal were the same network and yet they didn't connect the dots.

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@ Munkeh

Wrote :- "I remember seeing a small community actively campaign against a new tower being located in their village, ... the tower was never built, however within a month the local paper ran a story in which they all complained about the rubbish mobile signal."

ALL? I very much doubt it. Probably mostly different sets of people. Different groups of people start throwing toys from their prams for very different reasons. It is a widespread human fallacy that other people hold strong views on the same issues as yourself.

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I'm surprised it's this high

People, even bright people, don't think much about areas outside their expertise.

If you asked a trivial question about the influence of case law on judicial outcomes, or the way anaesthetic works, you'd find less than 100% accuracy from the relatively smart lot who spend too much time here.

General knowledge isn't that useful in getting ahead, so people who gather it tend to do so more as a hobby than anything else.

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3 masts coverage, yet still I have to go all Lion King...

My living room is an intersection point between 3 masts, so despite - according to Orange's customer service team - 'superb' coverage, holding my phone completely still it will, over any given 90 second period, go from 5 bars to 'Searching'.

Get the same result on Skoadfone & O2, altho in the bedroom rather than living room! We've reintroduced a telephone chair into our array of furnishings.

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Re: 3 masts coverage, yet still I have to go all Lion King...

There is a bad side of having a source of strong signal nearby (or God forbid, more than one source!). Radio reflections on all sorts of stuff, which are causing interferences with the actual signal. The stronger (or closer) the signal is, the stronger the reflections are.

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Anonymous Coward

I get great mobile coverage at home with a mast just down the other end of the road. When I say great we get about 10 meg speeds from mobile broadband on T-Mobile.

In comparison our home broadband runs at around 1.5 meg and is a general problem on our development of new build houses. I'd rather get better ADSL speeds or have Virgin Media available.

UK Mobile coverage is pretty good these days, i'm in the North West personally and find at home and in cities 3G coverage is great. Don't have a 4G device yet but imagine that it's still limited to city centres in the 12 or so cities that were announced by EE.

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Boffin

Cellular basestations

These are THE big investment in any mobile telephone network. The more you have, the more subscribers you can cram in and the more money you can make. Given the difficulty in getting permission to build new ones you can understand why EE would never start removing them.

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WTF?

Maybe those 25% are subject to the grip of death syndrome

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Disinformation lingers

The reason for confusions about radio transmission may be not just that people aren't terribly bright. It could be down to the disinformation that was spread a few years ago.

For example, a local women's group, campaigning against 'phone masts, arranged lectures from "a UK expert" who was supposed to be a physicist at the University of Warwick. He maintained that in order to reduce radiation, and the health risks that this presents, especially to children, it would be necessary to make towers more powerful but to have fewer of them and site them further away from residential areas. Explanations of the inverse square law notwithstanding, some people were clearly convinced by his arguments.

Once absurd factoids like this have come into being they tend to stick around for some while, it being generally easier to accept a lie than discover the truth.

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"Heading translation "one in four Brits are morons""

Given the number of illegal imigrants that 25% probably didnt understand the survey unless it was translated.

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WTF?

and the "Unrelated Racist Commentard Award" goes to.....

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Stop

re: and the "Unrelated Racist Commentard Award" goes to.....

If you think that's bad, you should have a shufti at the BBC HYS comments about the 3p fuel duty rise. (Yes,really.)

It's all the fault of illegal immigrants and dole scroungers, apparently. Oh, and those greedy, inconsiderate bastards with kids.

Shudders.

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Devil

A quarter of Brits fail to understand some science, that's probably excusable.

What worries me more is that:

"68 percent of registered (US) Republican voters stated that they believe demonic possession is real." - Public Policy Polling, by NPR.

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Re: A quarter of Brits fail to understand some science, that's probably excusable.

Randomly believing things without any actual empirical data should be outlawed ... You know who I'm talking about Mr Priest!

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Lucky if you have...

anything > 2G - o2 here wont install any 3G - even though they are 'spending £1.5m per day' on the network. I can even see a mast from here. How much does it cost to install 3G services to a mast?

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Unhappy

Actually getting too close does degrade an RF signal

If you take a handset to the immediate vicinity of a cell base, as in at the foot of an antennae, the signal does degrade, as in distort.

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FAIL

Living in the dead zone

I'm with Three and their signal goes dead at my parents on the ground floor. Even outside in the garden. I have to go upstairs to get a single bar.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Living in the dead zone

"I have to go upstairs to get a single bar"

Boom Boom!

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