Feeds

back to article It's EE vs Vodafone: 'How good is my signal' study descends into network bunfight

Vodafone has implied that a mobile network test by RootMetrics was not "impartial" and included dodgy data. Vodafone came bottom in the testing. EE, which came top in the testing, has reacted with outrage at Vodafone's assertion. Vodafone says: “We’d love to give a fully detailed response, but believe the way Root Metrics …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Pisspoor EE indoor signal where I am, and according to their map the coverage there is "good"

6
0
Bronze badge
Unhappy

I have to agree

The indoor coverage is despicable, and the companies with atrocious indoor coverage hate the idea of femtocells.

I had EE and my wife has orange.

Both of which report great signal in my area :/

.... NOT TRUE !!!!!!

as for orange well it depends on what day it is as the signal varies from day to day ... i have no idea why !!

Neither do they and i am thankfully out of my contract never to return !!!

I have vodafone although my only gripe is slow / non-existant data, but great voice coverage. more important for a mobile phone imo.

Might try out three, Vodafone are not realistic with their data packages. for the phones they sell.

give a man a Jag and a cupful of petrol :(

3
0

Re: I have to agree

This has been made worse by the Orange/T-Mobile merge into EE. They have been shutting down what they term "duplicate coverage" towers to save money.

At home I used to connect to a mast 1.6 miles away. Now its one 5.5 miles away and the tower I used to connect to has disappeared off the map. Result is I now get no signal. My phone is an expensive paperweight at home now. I've tried getting out of my contract based on them not actually providing me with a service, but no dice of course. Mobile companies are the worst and they just don't seem to care that they have a piss poor public image.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: I have to agree

@neill

I dont know if it worth the effort, but they do still provide femtocells, but you have to battle to get them.

personally I love the idea of a femtocell, even just for saving my battery life !!!

1
0

Re: I have to agree

@Lionel. Thanks for the tip. I thought only Vodafone offered them.

0
0
Unhappy

Indoors or outdoors

I live at the top of a hill. I have three different handsets, three SIMs, one from Voda, EE and O2.

Goes outside and waves at big cell tower in the distance.

Zero bars.

Three miles further away from the tower, at the bottom of the hill, no longer able to see the tower.

Five bars.

0
0

Re: Indoors or outdoors

most operators used "sectorized" antennae, i.e. they beam the signal to where they want the coverage rather than using a "co-linear" antenna to give a flat disk of coverage. It also means that each sector can in theory have a different set of users on it which allows more call and data capacity.

0
0
Bronze badge

Seems in line with my experience on EE, Vodafone and O2. Vodafone seems to offer good speed if you can get a signal although this is likely down to lower contention. EE seems to always have a signal but that signal is a little slower unless you're on 4G and O2 is average all around

0
0
Silver badge
Linux

Vodafone are pants, their coverage map is inaccurate, I'm supposed to get H+ around my office area and all I can get is E which cannot even load a google search page (before searching). I have given up caring about mobile data and see it as this imaginary thing that people talk about but no-one gets to see or use.

7
1

I have given up caring about mobile data and see it as this imaginary thing that people talk about but no-one gets to see or use.

Same here, I get on average 8% no signal in the south West, and despite my best efforts, it's impossible for me to burn through my data allowance of 500MB.

Can't wait for my contract to run out so I can get rid of Vodafone.

0
0
Silver badge

"I get on average 8% no signal in the south West.......Can't wait for my contract to run out so I can get rid of Vodafone."

I jumped ship recently from Voda to O2 purely on cost. Unfortunately fast and reliable O2 data connections are far more sparse on O2 than Vodafone when out and about, across a wide slice of the West Midlands and all the way down to London, and O2 text performance is dreadful, with texts routinely turning up days late. I'll be looking to move back to Vodafone when my contract's up with O2.

O2 also alienated me by increasing prices within a few weeks of signing a contract, base don RPI for eleven months prior to my contract. Regardless of the O2 offer I shan't be renewing with them.

1
1

I'll be looking to move back to Vodafone when my contract's up with O2.

Yeah my Mrs was with O2 and had nothing but problems.

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

I have given up caring about mobile data and see it as this imaginary thing that people talk about but no-one gets to see or use.

I wouldn't go quite that far but it does seem very hit and miss. I was particularly perplexed recently. I was eating a meal in Coast to Coast in Birmingham near the ICC and wanted to check train times back home. I had three bars and 'H+' showing on the phone - but couldn't get anything to download. As soon as I stepped outside the download woke up.

But yeah my normal experience of browsing on my phone (GS3) is more akin to the days of analogue modems. Slow, unreliable and prone to random stalls.

In fact I just did a test from my office in Brindleyplace. Five bars and 'H+' on the phone. Speed achieved courtesy of Virgin/EE = 1Mb/s down, 1.3Mb/s up. And the graphs look like a silhouette of the Alps.

It all leads me to suspect that the problem isn't reception per se. It's the mast contention/backhaul or core networks.

0
0

I just dumped Vodafone for Three. Although in Cambridge city centre V were good, coverage dropped off a cliff, and their 2G GPRS is poor, and the 2.5G Edge is worse despite in theory meant to be better!

0
0
Bronze badge

I just moved...

From Vodaphone due to poor 3G coverage - 2G coverage is fine, but 3G is shockingly bad. Also, I started to notice that when I was in the middle of the city, I would have 2G, i found if i turned off 3G and turned it back on I would have 3G then until I got booted back to 2G. I suspect its something like a QOS thing but I never automatically got back on 3G - so off they go.

0
0

I'm extremely unhappy with Vodafone as well, and hardly ever get a 3G signal. I very much welcome real-world tests, because artificial tests can be gamed in the operator's favour and who funds the test. They need a kick up the backside, and need to acknowledge their problems and their lack of investment.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

your milage may vary

I've been with voda for nearly 10 years now and I've never once experienced the horror stories regarding billing, coverage etc etc that other people seem to suffer with on most of the networks. SWMBO however is now Orange/EE having previously been voda and having issues with coverage.

They are not the cheapest but while they are reliable *for me* they can keep my business.

2
0

Re: your milage may vary

I agree. I've had Vodafone for work for years and unfortunately have had very few problems where ever I am in the country. Sadly this means I can be contacted pretty much anywhere(hell). The data side of things isn't quite so good... but I'm not a heavy data user so I guess this doesn't affect me so much.

I have EE for my personal phone and again have done for years. Signal seems universally bad. Forever dropping calls and having lousy signal. My personal phone is a dumb phone(heaven) so I can't comment on EE's data signal.

2
0
Silver badge
Joke

Re: your milage may vary

I've been with voda for nearly 10 years now

Yeah. It can take a long time to get them to actually cancel your service when you're done with it.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: your milage may vary

Au contraire - when I moved from VF to 3 after 14 years they made no effort whatsoever to retain me. "Can I have PAC code please?" "Yes" "Thanks" Job done.

0
0

Re: your milage may vary

Exactly my experience - they didn't seem to be at all bothered about the prospect of losing a high RPU customer.

Now with 3, the coverage is (much!) better, 3G speeds are pretty good, even in rural Hampshire, and text messages arrive instantly. Stark contrast with Vodafone, where they'd take days at times, even to my missus' Phone (also on Vodafone, believe it or not!)

0
0

Re: your milage may vary

Vodafone were very persistent trying to keep me. A year ago when it was renewal time I gave notice and they dropped the price significantly. This year because of poor coverage I was determined to move, and their retentions department called me three times!

0
0
Thumb Down

bad

EE around North Devon is shocking. Often it will drop out completely for no reason then come back full bars then drop off again with no service.

tmobile was pretty damn good in the past, as was Orange when they were 2 seperate companies. Once they became EE the net result wasn't double the coverage but half the range.

1
0

I have RootMetrics on my iPhone...

And what's with the para about "different radio chipsets"? Oh, look, Vodafone advertising!

Journalism!

0
0

Yeah, I was wondering about that bit too. RootMetrics themselves have a link to their app on both iOS and Android on this page: http://www.rootmetrics.com/products

I have it on my handset too, and I'm reasonably sure it was a story right here on El Reg that led me to it in the first place.

0
0
Bronze badge

Sounds about right

Vodafone's 2G network is relatively good and has wide coverage, although I've never found their EDGE usable on any phone I've had in any location. Their 3G network is terrible, large areas missing coverage and it is unreliable and overloaded where it is present.

I've found their 4G generally excellent, so hopefully they will do a decent job of rolling it out nationwide. I also hope it doesn't get as patchy as their 3G once a decent volume of people are using it..

0
0

Re: Sounds about right

Your experience mirrors mine. In rural (Cambridgeshire) areas, if the signal is poor my phone goes to GPRS and it's a slow but usable network, but if the signal gets better and phone gets an EDGE sessions it becomes unusable!

Unfortunately it seems impossible to disable EDGE and leave only GPRS enabled; all I can do is force 3G or 2G. Android JB 4.3, Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Life beyond London?

I've had all of them except o2 in recent years (only EE and Three on 4G), and find they all have reasonable coverage inside the M25 for 3G, with Three beating EE hands down for all aspects of 4G inside my east London flat - root metrics has that totally the other way round for my cell, with Three barely registering. Vodafone has always seemed to offer the most consistent data connection across London, and I've always found it reasonably quick too.

Outside London is a different story; I don't know how any of them have the temerity to boast about performance at all when huge swathes of the country - including a fair few large town centres - get little better than a flickering one bar grimly clinging on. If it's not a railway or (very) main road, they don't seem at all interested.

In EE's case lousy coverage is hardly helped by them removing supposedly redundant masts from the Orange/T-Mo merger - deciding two villages a few miles apart only need one mast between them is probably fine if that one mast covers both reasonably well, bloody pointless if one village gets a signal and one loses it entirely. At least Vodafone's 'Sure Signal' can be cajoled into working for some, although I never understood why UMA didn't get a rollout beyond Orange - at least it worked at a pinch for voice and didn't need any hardware install.

Overall, none of them have much to boast about till they notice people live in the bits between the lines on the map, and Ofcom, as usual, did a pretty lamentable job by not obligating them to better coverage.

3
0
Silver badge
Flame

Dear Vodafone

Squawk Squawk squawk. Hear that. Thats 4 years of deliberate under-investment in your network coming home to roost whilst you used us Brits cash to susidise your adventures abroad.

Screw you. ( and the rest of your telco friends)

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Dear Vodafone

That's not just Vodafone who have failed to invest - ALL the networks are under-investing.

They might shout about shiny new 4g networks, but they've cut back to the bone in every other area to afford them. I wouldn't be suprised to see one (take your pick) of the networks suffer a major multi-day company-threatening network outage within the next few years due to their pared-back-to-the-bone maintenance policies.

I used to work for one of the Networks and there has been a massive reduction in engineers over the last few years. The engineers of course being the people who know how the damned network actually works, i.e. 8 people attempting to do what 40+ were doing just a few years ago. This massive loss of knowledge is due to head count reductions, outsourcing and a policy of not keeping pace with upgrades until something fails (even resorting to buying commercially unavailable kit on ebay, because they refuse to upgrade to current supported models).

I really believe that the company directors are running blind to the risks that they face, they just don't understand how their own networks are designed and built. it's not just the RAN/Core kit either, it's all the backend stuff which enables billing, access control, monitoring, reporting, fault diagnosis & investigation. All old, badly maintained and with lots of in-house sticky-tape development over 20 years. All that knowledge has walked out of the door. Their only hope is that a 4g rollout will allow them to turn off some of that legacy stuff which is still creaking along.

The once, well-invested, high-profit margin beacons of technological advancement are rapidly turning into old-flakey utility companies. Back in the late '90's they were drinking Champagne and thinking of a bright future, now they are reduced to Tizer and whatever coins they can find down the back of the sofa. Think Thames water but with network outages instead of housepipe bans.

So, in summary, EE & Vodafone can argue about coverage, but they are ignoring the real problems with the networks which will impact us all at some point in the near future...

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Coverage isn't everything

Its also to do with

* which operator least treats its customers like sh*t

* which operator gives support thats worth having

* which operator offers the most reliable network

* which operator takes the least pi** with its pricing

Shame the only operator who scored an all points has just been forced out of the playground.

You could also add:

* which operator takes decent phones and f**ks them up the least with bloated software, flaky carrier-specific versions of useful apps you can't uninstall and replace with working ones and useless apps you can't uninstall - but that allprobably comes under the general heading of * which operator least treats its customers like sh*t

0
0

Re: Coverage isn't everything

Try Virgin Mobile.

You get a great price: 15 quids a month all in

A decent Network : runs on EE

Customer service: Can't comment as I don't speak indie

Taking the piss: About a quid more every 9 months for dubious reasons.

Take decent phones and f;;ks them up: Nope, they're not that advanced.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Coverage isn't everything

Don't pick Virgin if you have any aspiration to use any aspect of its service around rush hour in London - even the phone/voicemail capacity seems to get overstretched and all you get is endless ringing irrespective of whether the person you're calling has coverage.

Cheap, but definitely not cheerful.

1
0
Bronze badge

Testing Methods

I thought customers used mobile phones, not a boot full of technology when they went out and about? If I am using a mobile phone I expect to switch on and go, not carry a full test lab. I want to see test results results that confirm if I can just use the darned thing without a test lab, a couple of technicians to calibrate it and £50,000~100,000 worth of hardware.

From what I read here see on my phone and hear from contacts if they can get a signal, the current state of play has not progressed much in the past ten years. Radio communications was never as reliable as wired - yes I know wireless is more flexible I'm talking about reliable and consistent. For too many mobile users it appears the service may be fast as it dashes through and disappears again. Fifteen years ago Vodafone appeared to have a stand out name. Now we just have a bunch of mobile companies and some often surprisingly rubbish phones.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Agree

Just moved from Vodafone to O2 (only choices on our corporate accounts) - O2 is definitely a better signal than Vodafone even though they claim to be sharing masts now

1
0
Silver badge

Horses for courses

IMHO, there is no "best" operator, just better ones in different areas.

According to the article and the comments (so far) 3 and O2 are supposed to have great coverage. Where I live & work, 3 is the worst, Vodafone the best and O2 somewhere in the middle. (I don't know what EE are like around here)

2
0
MJI
Silver badge

Am I the only one when they see EE

think of English Electric?

1
0

Re: Am I the only one when they see EE

If I could get a Lightning from EE then I'd be happy - though I think the cellular-tower-handoff issues might be a bit tricky at Mach.2

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Am I the only one when they see EE

cellular-tower-handoff issues might be a bit tricky at Mach.2

Yeah but you could easily pop over with a note instead at that speed. Fuel consumption would also replicate the smartphone battery-life experience faithfully.

1
0
MJI
Silver badge

Re: Am I the only one when they see EE

So many nice things from them. Aircraft and rail.

0
0
Bronze badge

Personally I am now....

.... on T-mobile (sticking to 3G, its all I need for now) and have a work phone with Vodafone. Was previously on O2. They are all crap in some way. O2 was hopeless for 3G in cities, but fantastic on train lines and motorways. Vodafone never dropped a call for me but seems each mast wants to talk to your phone for an hour before giving you a data connection. T-Mobile seems in between the two but has the 'Hey, you started looking at a webpage so we will just drop the data connection' feature (H+ Full bars to 1 bar without moving).

The reason I never went Orange was due to not wanting to be charged for contracts for years after they ended, and the fact that they took a fairly functional Win 6.5 phone and turned it into a useless plastic box with a shiny panel at the front.

0
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Personally I am now....

We can't help what you are personally on, as the man said to Zaphod Beeblebrox, but you must have noticed that T-mobile and Orange have merged...? To form the EE entity that is the subject of The Fine Article...?

0
0

Most people buy on price....

.. then wonder why there hasn't been investement in coverage or service.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Most people buy on price....

Old argument thats as invalid as ever. Users don't get to set the prices needed to continue investment, the mobile firms do. Short of users making a (brave) voluntary unilateral contribution to ensure improvements in the service, that would come entirely without guarantees, its down to the networks to charge sufficiently. But then maybe the consumer perception of the service quality offered is reflected in what they're prepared to pay, and the networks lack the bottle to charge more, or even try to make a case for doing so.

In Belgium, charges are high, data is scandalously expensive and phones don't appear to get subsidies - and its still crap, so paying more for the hell of it really isn't the answer. Maybe doling out a bit less to shareholders might help?

0
0

Re: Most people buy on price....

Paying more would just line the pockets of the Directors and Share holders

http://mobilemarketingmagazine.com/ee-posts-record-profit-margin/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24908844

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Vodafone is BEYOND terrible in Northern Ireland and beyond

My friend and I have identical phones (iPhone 5). I am with EE (4G Tariff) and he is on Vodafone (4G Tariff). Vodafone is shockingly bad all across Northern Ireland - my friend struggles to get 3G, nevermind 4G, whereas I'm usually on a strong 3G, if not 4G signal.

We both travelled to Glasgow from Belfast via ferry and then train and my friend's signal didn't get 3G until he reached the central Glasgow area. I had 3G all the way until Glasgow where I got 4G.

My friend has since said that this experience is not uncommon anywhere he goes and that he wouldn't touch Vodafone ever again.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Vodafone is BEYOND terrible in Northern Ireland and beyond

Maybe it is god's punishment for not allowing gay marriage :-)

1
0

Vodafone: You are awful and I can't wait to be rid of you.

Less than three hours ago I stood outside Vodafone's Aylesbury store to run a speed test. My phone (18 month-old iPhone 5) had 4-5 blobs of 3G on the signal strength meter.

Result? 307ms ping, 0.02mbps down, 0.12mbps up

I wandered into the shop to ask if they could test the SIM in another phone, or another SIM in mine (both helpfully suggested by Vodafone's Twitter staff - yeah, 'cos we've all got loads of iPhones and compatible SIMs lying around to test with...) but was met with the attitude of "Yeah, it's sometimes like that. What do you expect?!"

Well, young lady, for a £600 device running on a supposedly world-class network that costs me over £40 a month to access, I expect a *little* more than to be able to check for any new webmail within about 2 minutes. As for actually reading any mail items? Forget it!

6 months to go on this contract and then I can rid myself of this awful, awful network forever. The best part? They adopt such a condescending, patronising attitude if you ever so much as suggest there may be something lacking in their provision (witness: Aylesbury lady and their response to the Rootmetrics report).

I'm aware that all networks have their faults, but I've had far better experiences with Three and Orange in the past and the number of times I've been in a city centre location and watched as colleagues/friends on other networks have been able to download videos, maps etc. while I watch a progress bar (can't ever recall being in the opposite position, weirdly) tells me I can't go wrong with almost any other provider.

On evidence of my work Blackberry I'll probably steer clear of O2 though...

0
0

I have been on O2, Voda, and 3. O2 for me is the best compromise with ok 3g and good 2g. Vodafone had excellent 2g and no 3g and 3 had good 3g but it was not strong enough to get inside buildings which is a problem as I spend time on call. I can't personally comment on EE but who knows next time I might jump in.

0
0

EE Test

Was this the same EE network that collapsed last week??

https://twitter.com/EE/status/446369338388254720/photo/1

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.