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 …

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  1. The Jase

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

    1. Lionel Baden
      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 :(

      1. Neill Mitchell

        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.

        1. Lionel Baden

          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. Neill Mitchell

            Re: I have to agree

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

    2. Oh Homer
      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.

      1. Paul

        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.

  2. Lusty Silver 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

  3. Miek
    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.

    1. Tachikoma

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "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. Tachikoma

          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.

      2. Paul

        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!

    2. AndrueC 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.

  4. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    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.

  5. calumg

    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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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. AndrueC 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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Wall-meet-Head

          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!)

        2. Paul

          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!

  7. Tezfair
    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.

  8. Bob Gender

    I have RootMetrics on my iPhone...

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

    Journalism!

    1. chr0m4t1c

      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.

  9. BigAndos

    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..

    1. Paul

      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.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  11. Gordon 10 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)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    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

    1. Philippe

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

  13. Richard Jones 1

    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.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    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

  15. A Non e-mouse 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)

  16. MJI Silver badge

    Am I the only one when they see EE

    think of English Electric?

    1. Tanuki

      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

      1. 's water music Silver 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.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Am I the only one when they see EE

        So many nice things from them. Aircraft and rail.

  17. Eradicate all BB entrants

    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.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1
      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...?

  18. MooseMonkey

    Most people buy on price....

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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?

    2. Thrud61

      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

  19. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Vodafone is BEYOND terrible in Northern Ireland and beyond

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

  20. Lunatik

    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...

  21. vmistery

    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.

  22. Andrew Barr

    EE Test

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

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

  23. xpz393

    For the perfect mobile pie...

    RECIPE:

    EE's 3G/4G spread

    O2's urban 3G/4G building penetration

    Vodafone's overall reliability and 2G reach

    First Direct's approach to customer service

  24. phuzz Silver badge
    Trollface

    I live about half a mile from a tower. All networks give full signal, even in the basement.

    Seeing as everyone else is moaning I thought I'd add a bit of balance.

    (I'm not sure what the 3G signal is like because I almost never have it turned on).

  25. Jon E boy

    RootMetrics App for iPhone

    'The data gathered by RootMetrics uses an overlay of crowdsourced information from people who've downloaded the RootMetrics testing app, although this is only available on Android because, as we've said before, Apple doesn't give the necessary radio signal API to developers."

    What's this then?

    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/cell-phone-coverage-map/id399701910?mt=8

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TBH they're ALL rubbish...

    I've recently switched from Vodafone to OraBile (EE variant) after being with Vodaphone for about 3 years, dealing with:

    1) A network that would "lose" my phone quite regularly (requiring switching switching to flight mode and back to resume data and calling).

    2) No data if you were somewhere remotely busy despite full signal and 3G (insufficient capacity on the backhaul possibly? "A network built for data" I think not...).

    3) To make a call in a busy area having to drop to 2G or switch flight mode on and off.

    4) 2 massive dead spots on the mainline just before Clapham Junction, unfixed after 2 years.

    5) Massive ping times.

    6) When I went to cancel, simply abysmal customer service.

    Before that I was on O2... again no data capacity, deadspots, before that Orange... poor contract minutes/data and deadspots. So I've tried every physical network in the UK excluding T-Mobile which are now part of EE, all rubbish in their own "special" ways...

    I Naively hoped for better as my work phone on EE was doing pretty well, then after 1 week... a catastrophic network failure and instead of being honest and telling us how they'd cocked up.... we got tweeted pictures of Gremlins from their PR dept... :(

    So far EE is marginally better than Voda (but it is like pick your disease...), better coverage and data is a lot more consistent but I've gone from 3G to 4G... like I said to the Vodafone retentions person who tried to spend 30mins convincing me to stay, then told me I couldn't have a PAC code anyway as their system was down and to try tomorrow... I might try again in 2 years to see if they've got their act together... but I doubt it...

  27. Spitefuel

    The issue is that none of the UK telecoms networks have increased the capacity of their networks. The reality is that they accept a basic level of churn and when one network is over capacity the others are able to provide better service. Consumers churn from one to the next gradually dragging down one network as the other recovers.

    Ofcom do not have a basic level of service requirement that is suitable for the modern market and all the major companies are beholden to shareholders who like most idiots in The City believe that utility service which requires infrastructure can be run on a shoestring rather than focus on the quality of service.

    All the major networks have sold off their engineering; their equipment and much of their technical support. All to give a few more pennies short term added value for shareholders.

    The solution is that we need to have a minimum requirement of service and Ofcom to require that every customer issue is logged (it isn't in any of the major companies; shabby outsourced customer services bullshit customers regularly and avoid logging faults). It would be easy for Ofcom to monitor with regular anonymous shoppers and keep testing how many faults are not logged. A direct personal fine for every member of the board of 1% of their salary for every fault that is provably not logged should do the trick. The money goes to the customer whose fault wasn't reported so there is an incentive for customers to chase faults and make sure they are reported. They'll start caring about recording faults and then have to deal with people knowing the real level of under-investment in the infrastructure.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Collusion

      There must be a degree of at least informal collusion on the lousy service. That way, they can share the customers out. If one network became better, it would win.

  28. EkilErif

    Good luck if you're switching to O2

    The company I work for switched from Orange to O2 just under four years ago. O2 is great provided you're in the greater London area... the second you're outside the area its horrendous. I have no service in all but one room at home and when I'm at the in-laws i have to go up to the third floor bedroom to get a signal strong enough to make or receive a phone call.

    O2 won't sell me anything equivalent to Vodafones sure signal device and their TuGo service isn't available to business customers. Had an argument with them on twitter about just this a few weeks ago.

    My Mrs recently switched from O2 to EE and she gets brilliant service on any BlackBerry or Android phone. The second she switches to her iPhone 5s she starts having issues. She can have 4G signal with good data transfer with her Blackberry... switch to her iPhone and battles to maintain a 3G connection long enough to do anything.

    I've got a Three data plan as well and that is by far the best... I get better download speeds on that than I do using my home broadband connection. I'm actually in the process of getting rid of my BT Broadband subscription in favour of my Three data plan.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Good luck if you're switching to O2

      O2 won't sell me anything equivalent to Vodafones sure signal device

      That's a shame. Their Boost Box devices (both the consumer & corporate variants which they're quite happy to sell to corporates) both work well.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In my area Vodafone block Skype...

    Whereas 3 actively promote it... No fan of either. Just wanted to warn users...You have to pay extra to have Skype unblocked by Vodafone. Nowhere in the documentation for mobile broadband does it state this.

    1. moaningme

      Re: In my area Vodafone block Skype...

      I guess a way round it would be to connect to a VPN and then run SKYPE. If your office has a VPN connection then put it into settings and hopefully it should work for you.

  30. Steve Gill

    I'm sticking to O2 because of their out-of-city coverage. I spend a lot of time in rural areas where you very rarely get any EE or Voda coverage at all but there is usually at least a smidge of a signal from O2.

    Outside the urban environment it really helps if you use phones made by companies with a decently long track record on making mobile phones with good aerials - I would suggest Motorola, Nokia or Ericsson if you want to get a decent signal where Apple, Samsung & HTC fail.

  31. ted frater

    Orange versus O2 in Dorset

    Were in the Purbecks, All th family were with orange ,me for 12 yrs.

    Signal gor poorer even on 2g.Son moved to O2 with a Q10 blackberry.4 bar signal off the local tower

    We followed. Missus is on a Razr, im on a Opticon H21 D as I need a rugged hand set.

    All on O2.

  32. Mark 110

    Better coverage in the jungle

    I was amazed when I was in the middle of the jungle in India, 20 miles from anywhere of note, that I had 5 bars of signal. Mountainous area. No signs of dense population. 5 bars signal.

    Yet I get on a train out of Southampton to London and its utterly pointless trying to do anything with a mobile phone til you hit Woking. Had a similar problem when I used to travel down through Oxford and Reading to Basingstoke.

    Huge swathes of the highly affluent areas of one of the richest countries on earth with no mobile signal and yet I travel to one of the poorest countries on earth and there's 5 bars of signal in the most unexpected places.

    (Currently using the EE network via VM in this country)

  33. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    3's new 4g is good

    Auto upgrades from their 3G tariff on a compatible phone (google n5) and faster than shit off the proverbial. I'm sure it will degrade over time but for now its excellent and coverage seems fractionally better too.

    at £7.50 rolling 1 month contract I'm a happy bunny.

  34. Big_Boomer

    Sour grapes

    Sorry VodaFail but your network was once the best but in the last 5 years has gotten worse and worse. Your prices are too high, your deals are rubbish and your customer service is appalling. As an ex-VodaFail customer for 16 years, I switched to Tesco (O2) this year and as a consequence have the same calls/data for half the price with a new MotoG 16gb. What's more their support is excellent and I get a decent signal at home and at work.

    On a separate issue,one thing that all the 2G companies seem to have failed at is mobile data on major trunk roads. I use the M25 every day and 3G coverage is very spotty indeed both on Voda & O2.

  35. Alex Bailey

    Mirrors my experience

    I've been with Vodafone for 18 years so when over the last few years they managed to not upgrade their networks as quickly as they kept promising I decided I was going to have to change.

    Cue different SIM cards for my iPad. One from 3, one from O2 and one from T-Mobile. Over the space of 6 months I swapped the SIM cards in my iPad and compared against the Vodafone in my iPhone (a 4S at first but now a 5S). I used both while stationary, while mobile I used maps apps in satellite mode to see how quickly and efficiently they updated. Not very scientific but it certainly gave me the data I needed.

    My conclusion... EE gave the best coverage while Vodafone gave the worst. Strangely similar to the Root Metrics test. So in January I switched to T-Mobile (I live in an area with no 4G coverage) and suddenly I can use Siri in places I'd never been able to before, Waze actually updates routes when I have to take detours instead of informing me there's no network and my Facebook and Foursquare check ins don't rely on me having to go outdoors and hold my phone in the air.

    Vodafone really should take this report seriously... even if only in private because I know of other people who are switching away from them for the very same reasons.

  36. ElNumbre
    Go

    FTLOG

    For those commentards reporting that they've got great coverage or piss-poor coverage, PLEASE install one of the survey apps if you've got a capable smart phone and add the details to the maps. The more current data, the better these maps become.

  37. Ian 45

    Vodafone no work

    Used to get a signal in my house, now, nothing. Not even outside. Moved to O2 and bingo, back in business. Missus still on Vodafone and rarely able to get a signal outside of a town centre. Utter crap.

  38. JeffTravis

    Your mileage may vary

    At home can't get EE or Three despite being able to see the transmitter from my house. This is because the nearest one is a lamppost style transmitter designed to keep the travelers on the nearby 'A' road connected and isn't tall enough to get the signal past the trees. The big masts are at the top of the two local hills and we live in the dip (hence the need for the lamppost mast in the same dip).

    So it's Voda or O2 at home. At work all the coverage maps show full strength but you can't get O2 in the building. So it's Vodafone for me, O2 for my significant other.

    Work provide a Blackberry on EE, No signal at home, no problem Mr Corporate here's a Signal Box. Now I'm the local EE signal (within 15m of home anyway).

    All three of them have been OK, nothing more.

  39. Yugguy

    Hobson's Choice

    EE vs Vodafone?

    That's like asking if you want to die of cancer or aids.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone IS poor

    For me, sat right in the middle of London, I'm always appalled by the lack of data coverage on Vodafone. Right by Charing Cross walking up to Seven Dials, you can get 3G (rarely 4G) but it's saturated, no change of making a VOIP call. Then in our office we see only E signals, for central London that's shocking. On the train home, forget it, don't even bother making a phone call, it'll only work for 1 minute at the most.

    On the other hand, my partners 3 network phone, all be it only 3G connects in ALL the places mine doesn't and can make calls anywhere on our train journey.

    Considering hers is a consume phone, and mine is suppose to be business, I think Vodafone's results are justified. Instead of arguing the results, why don't they use the effort to improve the network?

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