back to article If only our British 4G were as good as, um, Albania's... UK.gov's telco tech report

Blighty has worse 4G coverage than that of Albania, Panama and Peru, according to major report by the National Infrastructure Commission today on 5G and telecommunication technology. The report, which you can read here found that Britain is 54th in the world for 4G, with the typical user only able to access 4G about 53 per …

  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    The report mixes UK and Britain, which does it mean? Blanket coverage of the Home Counties is much easier than covering Scottish islands or remote corners of N. Ireland.

    As for 5G means seamless connectivity. Ultra-fast and ultra-reliable, transmitting massive amounts of data at super low latency. we all know that's complete bollocks. We'd need masts popping up every few hundred yards, with the required fibre infrastructure to connect them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who told you home counties are covered?

      Try getting Vodafone data (in any shape of form) around East Anglia.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Who told you home counties are covered?

        If you are Essex and possibly Cambs then I suppose they count as Home Counties and East Anglia, but Norfolk and Suffolk don't.

        I have no problem with good 4G on Vodafone in Cambs.

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Blanket coverage of the Home Counties is much easier than covering Scottish islands or remote corners of N. Ireland.

      Have you tried to use a mobile phone in Cranleigh or Godalming recently? the Telcos actually want to have to do this...

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        The same goes for

        Crowthorne.

        even on the A33 between Reading and Basingstoke there is a 'not spot'.

        As for North Norfolk or the Lincolnshire flatlands? forget it. Semaphore would work better.

        Even 2 miles from thre A1 near Peterborough is a big no-zone.

        The 95% of population metric needs to be dropped.

        95% of land mass is a more realistic target.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The same goes for

          "even on the A33 between Reading and Basingstoke there is a 'not spot'."

          Know it well, but given the hill and the population density maybe it's not a huge surprise.

          I also spend a lot of time travelling between Birmingham and Chester, not exactly middle of nowhere, and *most* of that journey (either via motorway or A roads) seems to be a not-spot.

        2. GettinSadda

          Re: The same goes for

          "The 95% of population metric needs to be dropped.

          95% of land mass is a more realistic target."

          Especially as what they mean is "the home addresses of 95% of the population" - what ever happened to the idea of using a mobile phone when you are out and about! If I want high-speed internet at home I will use DSL/fibre, I want mobile internet when I am... well, mobile!

    3. John H Woods Silver badge

      "The report mixes UK and Britain" --Phil O'Sophical

      "Britain" doesn't have a formal meaning, it's quite acceptable, or at least commonplace, to use it to refer to the UK. Great Britain OTOH is the big Island in the UK.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Britain" doesn't have a formal meaning, it's quite acceptable, or at least commonplace, to use it to refer to the UK. Great Britain

        True, but when a report mixes the two terms it does show a lack of interest in precision, which is evident in the rest of the report.

    4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "Blanket coverage of the Home Counties is much easier than covering Scottish islands or remote corners of N. Ireland."

      Look at the geography of Albania and get back on that.

      1. TheProf
        Happy

        Oh yes, all 3 million Albanians can get wonderful download speeds.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        "Look at the geography of Albania and get back on that."

        And what is the geographic 3g and 4g coverage in Albania?

        Looking at a population map, I suggest you need to provide coverage to less than 30% of the country (ie. to most of the lowlands) to give coverage to 80+% of the population.

        However, a look at the mobile coverage maps available on the internet, it would seem the geographic coverage is significantly less and highly restricted to particular cities and road corridors...

        Reading the report, it would seem the criteria being used to determine 4g service availability and thus provide a county ranking, is highly suspect. But then given Lord Adonis's involvement, this is hardly surprising given his past performance over HS2...

    5. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      @Phil O' Sophical I live about a mile from a motorway leading to / from London and less than 30 miles from central London. I would really like 2G reception in house rather than the zero bars that I normally get. My mobile phone is really only useful as a mobile phone when it is out and about. Most times I deny having a mobile to avoid callers wasting their time calling, I always point possible callers to the land line since that normally works and the quality is far better. There is no point 'upgrading', (really downgrading) to something more expensive and less useful until it 'works', whatever that means in this wants-to-be-third-world-country.

  2. Jim Willsher
    FAIL

    In all the areas I frequent near home, including the A9 between Dunkeld and Pitlochry, I can get 5 bars on Vodafone. That's 5 bars of GPRS, Not even an E symbol or a 3G symbol, let alone a 4G symbol on my phone. I have to go into a town to get 4G.

    Hello? This is 2016. The A9 is the biggest trunk road in Scotland (hint: single digit). And only GPRS?

    WTF.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The A9 is the biggest trunk road in Scotland

      Longest, maybe. But flows vary depending on where you mean, from a poxy 1,800 vehicles per day at Berridale up to 25,000 a day at Blackford. But even at Blackford that's not Scotland's busiest trunk road by a country Scots Mile. with the A720 at Dreghorn registering 75,000 a day, and the A80 at Cumbernauld having 67,000 v/day. And of course that ignores the motorways.

      1. Jim Willsher

        Still a bit of a key artery though. A720 and A80 are both big roads, yes, but plenty of alternatives. If you can't access the A9,you basically can't travel N to S.

  3. adam payne Silver badge

    While walking around the town I live in the signal on my phone seems to go through every letter in the bloody alphabet.

    1. Doctor_Wibble
      Headmaster

      the secret codes

      I get 'E' 'H' and 'H+' show up on the microscopic bar icon thingy along with the little up and down arrows whose sole purpose appears to be to eat my battery, and no sign of any 'G' shown anywhere but they talk about 5G and there are five bars on the display so I logically conclude that each bar represents a 'G'.

      It's OK, I understand people will be jealous that I worked out the secret lettering code for myself. and I can even understand their envy at my frequent 5G 'E' signal. Sometimes it's so good the letter disappears completely, when it's just too fast for the display to keep up.

  4. John Sturdy
    WTF?

    Don't knock Albania

    Phone coverage isn't the only thing they do better than us; for example, their cafés are much better too. (In fact, Albanian friends assure me that if their café culture wasn't as good and people got out of the cafés a bit more, they could have a really thriving economy. But I think economics may be a bit more complicated than that.)

    But seriously, it is embarrassing for the UK when you consider that a fairly poor and very mountainous country beats us at coverage.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Don't knock Albania

      Hmmm....sounds nice. Are they in the EU yet? Could make a nice bolthole.

    2. Doc Ock

      Re: Don't knock Albania

      Another thing Albania is supposed to be good at is violent international organised crime.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_mafia

  5. Malcolm Hall

    In Glasgow its way below the average 53% of the time, it's more like 10% and in-doors often no service at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In Glasgow its way below the average 53% of the time, it's more like 10% and in-doors often no service at all.

      I wonder if the indoor reception has any relation to building everything old from granite, and everything new with steel reinforced concrete?

      1. John Presland

        It's not granite; it's sandstone, and very handsome at that (I say as a former resident). If you want granite, go to Aberdeen.

  6. Tachikoma
    Pint

    I think the problem is worse than they think, in my city my phone proudly declares 4G, but I can't even open my email as it's so congested, if I need to use Google maps or something I have to force it to 3G which is nearly as slow or rob the WiFi at a Wetherspoons.

    Beer icon because "I only went to the pub to use their WiFi dear"

  7. Tony S

    I've been working overseas, in what is still technically a "developing country". 4G coverage was almost 100%, and they have already begun planning a rollout for 5G.

    Then I get home and I can't even get 3G in most places; and probably 50% of the time, I can't even get a data connection full stop.

    If we want to be serious about trading with the rest of the world, we really need to invest in our infrastructure. It's bloody embarrassing when a 6 year old kid chasing after tourists begging for ciggies has a better connection to post his social media comments, than a team of people trying to develop high tech engineering solutions.

    1. Graham 25

      The problem with the UK is that because we were early users of 2G, the majority of cell sites were put in place to suit GSM coverage and as we move to 3G, 4g and 5G, the cells will be much smaller and more towers will be needed - a LOT of towers.

      Try telling Joe Public that if they want 4G or even 5G they will have to have a lot more cell towers near them and they will throw a wobbly and will try and ignore the laws of physics.

      Developing countries never had a 2G network in rural areas at all, and so when they get 4G, the cell towers are in the right place.

      Its a acse of the laws of physics versus the British mentality to expect coverage without towers and of course, never to actually pat for the 10,000 towers needs to give some sheep coverage in a Scottish valley with a road going through it.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        It's the same old story: expect housing without actually building anywhere, expect jobs without transport etc. infrastructure, expect electricity without power plants ... and expect logical thinking rooted in facts, without education.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        well said. We had some old bat in the village where I live in complaning about BT green cab's which meant Infinity was delayed by nearly a year. If we had local roaming it would help.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That must be a culture thing. Were I live at in the US the place cell receivers on any thing they can. Church towers, tall buildings, schools.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        " as we move to 3G, 4g and 5G, the cells will be much smaller and more towers will be needed"

        First there was GSM at 900MHz (Cellnet, Vodafone).

        Then there was PCN at 1800MHz (Orange, One2One). Being twice the frequency, 1800MHz needed lots more masts than 900MHz did to achieve similar levels of coverage.

        Then along came widespread adoption and expectations of near-universal coverage. Suddenly "masts" popped up in all kinds of places - high streets, petrol station chains (yes), and more. You wouldn't know these existed, but without them the networks would have neither the coverage nor the capacity.

        Then there was 3G, and as 4G allegedly came along some operators let their 3G networks dwindle.

        I'm not at all convinced that the poor overall coverage is due in any significant way to masts sited in the wrong place.

        I am rather more convinced that there is no visible financial motivation for networks to improve their existing coverage.

        In passing: why isn't cross-network roaming an option for customers of the UK majors. It already works for visitors from overseas, and is already offered by a tiny handful of tiny UK operators too e.g. Anywhere SIM.

      5. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        The problem with the UK is that because we were early users of 2G, the majority of cell sites were put in place to suit GSM coverage

        This is the invariable excuse. We have a crappy, badly-planned rail network because ours was the first. I imagine the same excuse is applied to the road network. It used to be claimed that German factories were much more efficient than British ones because theirs were all destroyed during the war, so they started again with new machinery (I haven't heard that one for a while - there can't really be any factories still using pre-war machinery).

        1. Graham 25

          Its not an excuse.

          You may understand IT but try understanding the laws of physics and radio propagation. Higher frequencies = faster fall off of signal so overlapping cell sites at 2G have gaps in 3G in rural area, and the gaps get bigger and bigger for 4G and for 5G.

          The rest of the rant is irrelevant. Go read a physics book.

          1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
            Joke

            By this line of reasoning - it seems that Scandinavians are truly lucky bastards: no mountains, no 2G networks and no laws of physics to worry about.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "The rest of the rant is irrelevant. Go read a physics book."

            I'm OK with physics thank you and even RF propagation.

            How are you with modulation and coding technique advances since the days of GSM and PCN? Maybe even with clever stuff like the cellco version of "phased array radar" (do they call it beamforming, I forget?).

            You may find that there's more to this picture than relatively simple RF stuff. Sorry, there doesn't seem to be a Ladybird Book of Cellular Network Coverage Considerations yet, but the factors are widely understood by quite a few people, and written about in a few places.

            You might even find it helpful to start by having a look at what frequencies are used by GSM and PCN, and then compare them with what's widely used by 3G and 4G.

            Mast location? Not an excuse any more, but cellcos will doubtless try it on.

        2. 40k slimez

          That's because we don't have any factories any more....

        3. Tony S

          (I haven't heard that one for a while - there can't really be any factories still using pre-war machinery).

          Want to bet? I know of at least one place where they are still using a punch press that has the manufacturers metal label on the front, stating it was produced in 1931. It's still being used pretty much every day. It just hammers away, then when finished, they remove the dies, clean and sharpen them, then refit ready for the next morning.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            (I haven't heard that one for a while - there can't really be any factories still using pre-war machinery).

            Want to bet? I know of at least one place where they are still using a punch press that has the manufacturers metal label on the front, stating it was produced in 1931.

            Actually, while writing the above, I kept thinking of Whitechapel Bell Foundry, established in 1570 and manufacturing on the same site since 1738 (and now, sadly, facing an uncertain future). They must have some pretty old machinery.

    2. Goldmember

      Agreed. I recently spent some time in Cambodia, and can confirm 4G connectivity in cities there is better than any city I've visited in the UK.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Also, the network will only deploy the minimum that they can get away with. If they can't get planning to site their antenna then they are quite happy with that, saves them a lot of cash.

    3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      The problem with making comparisons with developing countries, is that such countries generally don't have any landline infrastructure worth speaking of, so all investment goes into mobile infrastructure.

      More developed countries have historically made heavy use of fixed line infrastructure, and so not had the need to invest in mobile for the sake of providing a capability.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Can the people of this country afford handsets, and do they use them? I can stand right next to a bloody mast and get spinning wheel of delay just picking up email because every Tom, Jane, Freddy and Dominic that walks past as a phone clamped to their chest as they watch catch-up TV streaming video 24/7 crossing the road. If you're the only Johnny on the basestation, sure it's going to give you a good service.

  8. OliP

    Full 4g reception in a particular spot in my garden, 1 bar of Edge with no usable net connectivity in the house and about half a mile out the front door. No internet from when i get on a train at Brixton til i get home most nights.

    This is in South-East London.

    Train operator doesnt offer wifi either, so usually a peaceful journey home (apart from the warfare required to actually get on a train)

    1. Jim Willsher

      Assuming the train is actually running, too.

  9. frank 3

    is anyone surprised?

    A person of my acquaitance who is well placed to know assures me that Vodafone don't maintain *any* quality of service data from any of their masts, so I have a low, low, low opinion of the efforts that they go to to ensure coverage.

    In 2016, you *still* can't get a consistent signal on the west coast main line to london.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: is anyone surprised?

      In vague defence of Vodafone in the last four years I've gone from getting 3/4G at work and either 5 or 0 bars of 2G at home, with 50% not-spots in between, to a solid 4G signal for 95% of the 50 mile journey along the A303. The only gap in coverage is now a half mile stretch of B road in a valley.

      So certainly for me their investment strategy has paid off and I can now get minute by minute coverage of the delays in my journey.

    2. flokie

      Re: is anyone surprised?

      This could be a totally stupid question but could train design have an effect?

      Anecdotal evidence, and this was before I had a 4G phone, but I travelled from Edinburgh to Newcastle a few years back, and 3G coverage was mostly OK on my way there in an East Coast train. For the return, Virgin CrossCountry - I couldn't catch a signal most of the way. Same route same tracks.

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: is anyone surprised?

        The train could make a difference, but also as you are travelling in the opposite direction you may well be using a completely different set of masts due to the call hand off characteristics.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: is anyone surprised?

        Was one of the trains electric and the other diesel hauled?

        1. Keith Oborn

          Re: is anyone surprised?

          Some modern trains have metal film in the glass to cut down heat - for instance the newer South West stock. By contrast (and experiment) the 40 year old HSTs on GWR, and the 20 year old Eurostars, do not.

          It makes a big difference.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: is anyone surprised?

        This could be a totally stupid question but could train design have an effect?

        Yes. Rolling stock is earthed, so sitting in a large, earthed tin can isn't going to get you a strong signal. Obviously the window apertures provide some signal, but the spread within the carriage is limited, and the orientation to the mast will be quite important. Reception on the West Coast Virgin Pendolinos as built was very poor because the windows are much smaller than on most trains.

        They were (allegedly) retrofitted a few years ago with picocells to overcome this, but I can't say I noticed much difference in the reception. At a guess, the picocells are as poorly specified and of similar dubious reliability as on train wifi routers. That's compounded by the fact that you'd expect stuff all reception in cuttings and tunnels, so the picocell isn't going to help much there, and lineside infrastructure, gantries, overhead wires and electrical noise all add to a potent mix.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: is anyone surprised?

          Contrary to popular belief, railway track isn't earthed. It's called "traction return potential" and there is a floating potential of around 100V between the running rails for block occupation detection. But I take your point.

          1. flokie

            Re: is anyone surprised?

            Thanks everyone for the replies. Glad it wasn't an entirely daft question!

            It certainly sounds like Virgin trains have some of the least mobile phone friendly train carriages.

      4. Graham 25

        Re: is anyone surprised?

        Yes, that train makes a difference. Windows are tinted slightly using a metallic layer in the middle of the laminated glass, and that metal acts as a Faraday barrier. It depends entirely upon the glass and the train makers choices. Its a well known issue in the rail industry and just one of many reasons which high speed data will not be available on the deep tube sections of London Underground.

        1. Knoydart

          Re: is anyone surprised?

          Coverage in the underground (apart from metal bodied carriages which have large amounts of glass despite the sub surface lines being rather sub surface!) is actually difficult due to size of plant (base stations and antennas) verses tunnel space needed. Some of the higher frequencies will not even go beyond line of sight. Mix that in with 19 century tunnel geometry (sharp curves...) and its very difficult to go far. The attempt at migrating the police and other emergency services to LTE (4g) based communications below ground will be fun to watch.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: is anyone surprised?

            Leaky feeder.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Investing

    Every utility company (telecoms, rail, power, water, et al.) keep harping on about how they are "investing" record amounts in improving/replacing infrastructure. However, those "benefits" never seem to become tangible, other than in improvements to directors' remuneration.

    1. Tom 64
      WTF?

      Re: Investing

      Hit the nail on the head there my anonymous chum.

      It's not just 'rip-off britain', its 'under-investing, profit-gouging, pants-pulling-down britain'! Although I understand that is a bit more of a mouthful.

  11. Buzzword

    Not just rural areas

    I can't get a connection at Clapham Junction. The phone displays four or five bars, but when you actually try to do anything the connection doesn't go anywhere. Much like trying to use the station itself.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Not just rural areas

      Many busy places are the same, the capacity of the cell and its backhaul are overwhelmed by the amount of simultaneous data connections. Try a sports stadium just before the start of the event or at half time.

  12. Flywheel Silver badge

    " masts popping up every few hundred yards, with the required fibre infrastructure to connect them"

    AKA lamp posts?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      This may surprise you, but there's not actually lamp posts across the entire country, they're pretty much only in towns.

  13. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    To be fair

    We may have crap 4G but, compared to some of the countries with better 4G, we're better off in other ways. I mean, Columbia? We don't have massive drug wars on our doorsteps (well, not in rural Wales, dunno about across the border). Peru? No major civil wars here for nearly 400 years. China? No risk here of being shot for minor crimes and having your organs harvested (well, not yet)

    I'm not saying that these are connected. I suspect having good 4G is unlikely to trigger a new civil war (although the way Brexit is going, who knows? Get your pikes sharpened and practice shouting "The Lord of Hosts"!)

    And in a complete aside, am I the only one to find the name 'Lord Adonis' faintly mind-boggling? Who will we hear from next? Lady Aphrodite? Earl Prometheus? Duke Zeus?

    1. M.Zaccone
      Joke

      Re: To be fair

      "I suspect having good 4G is unlikely to trigger a new civil war "

      I dunno. My teenage children can throw quite a hissy fit if they can't connect to whotube or crapchat or whatever....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be fair

      Get your pikes sharpened

      I'm sharpening my spade, to assist when we rebuild Offa's Dyke. I've already written to my MP asking if it might be re-permitted to legally shoot Welshmen with a bow and arrow after nightfall (although with Welsh ancestry perhaps I should have thought better of asking that).

    3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: To be fair

      We may have crap 4G but, compared to some of the countries with better 4G, we're better off in other ways. I mean, Columbia? We don't have massive drug wars on our doorsteps (well, not in rural Wales, dunno about across the border). Peru? No major civil wars here for nearly 400 years. China? No risk here of being shot for minor crimes and having your organs harvested (well, not yet)

      You've never been to Sunderland then?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be fair

      Anon cos of industry connections..

      The signal comparisons come from Open Signal afaik, so it's crowd sourced. I'd like to see the sample sizes and testing regimes from Albania, for a start, as I doubt these will compare to the UK.

  14. HkraM
    Stop

    OpenSignal

    The report makes it clear that the data used to rank countries is based on data from OpenSignal. Their data should be taken with a truckload of salt.

    I've used OpenSignal's app on four phones and two networks and it just never uploads any test results; their data still shows no coverage near where I live on my network. I don't know how they can get away with publishing data collected from such an unreliable app.

    1. Jim Willsher

      Re: OpenSignal

      No signal to upload the data, i guess.

  15. Commswonk Silver badge
    FAIL

    Oh dear...

    The project intends to increase 4G connectivity across the country in order to shove the emergency services on to a 4G network.

    Currently 70 per cent of the UK's landmass is covered by British mobile operator EE's 4G network, which the government hopes to increase to 97 per cent by 2020.

    Apart from the fact that it should be EE increasing the coverage and not the government, if success is in any way reliant on "hope" then there really is no hope for this project.

    Good old fashioned solid engineering might succeed; hope won't.

  16. Mutton Jeff

    Sort out 3g first

  17. Dave 15

    4G?

    I would settle for 3G or even 2G actually working before anyone worries about 4 or 5 or 101g

    Round where I live - with a mast in plain sight - no signal. No signal for 95% of the A14 between Cambridge and Norwich, no signal on most of the A1 on the way to London (yes I am often a passenger as well as a driver).

    Situation just as shit in other parts of europe... take Germany, was on a call earlier, signal just disappeared, call cut and a minute or so later it was all back again... even when you have a signal it is not reliable

  18. John Crisp

    My old home 50 miles from London on flat ground and frequently you can barely send an SMS (last week included)

    Here in Spain I get pretty decent 4G wherever I go, and have had for 18 months or more. My village (pop. 2,700) has cable too......

    UK coverage just sucks

  19. phuzz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I guess I'm lucky, I live about 200m from a tower in the middle of a large city, so I get full 4G signal even in the cellar.

    Well, I would, but I always leave my phone on 2G because it uses less battery, and there's signal everywhere. I've still yet to find a use for 4G, except when our internet connection goes down.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares?

    Do we need this stuff? Just so idiots can upload their hashtags onto Grindr or whatever the fuck it is they do.

    Just read a sodding book instead, you might learn something.

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    A superb opportunity wasted.

    I was hoping something along the lines of "Greek strong man urges HMG to do the heavy lifting on USO"

    <sigh>

  22. Jon B

    Load of rubbish

    Measuring coverage by landmass instead of population percentage makes that report is a load of rubbish - it has NZ even worse than UK, when it has nationwide 4G coverage, and according to Akamai some of the fastest mobile data speeds. Band 28 (700mhz) rolled out near nationally for less urban areas, and the globally popular 1800 and 2100 bands in urban areas.

  23. Ben1892

    Why let the facts get in the way of a good headline?

    Saying that we have better coverage than Germany, France, Israel, Ireland and Italy doesn't have the same impact as the image that you can get better 4G coverage sitting in the Andes at Machu Picchu than you can in Basingstoke.

    Having said that, if you actually read the report it's quite a sensible set of proposals. Working for a rural county council, digital enablement is high on our agenda so, it's good to see a direction being outlined for the UK - now they just need to put their money where their mouth is.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good old privatisations

    Put this down to privatisation, where the cost of everything is counted individually. You want 5G in the middle of the Highlands, then someone has to pay for it. No concept of spreading out the cost resulting in a service from which everyone benefits.

  25. Sproggit

    Maybe Incentives Would Work?

    For as long as I can remember, we [largely the peoples of most western, democratic countries] have been told that "market forces" and "commercial competition" are the best, most effective and efficient means of driving up standards and driving down costs.

    Yet here is another example of a spectacular failure in this regard. There could be many causes : inept regulator, collusion, corruption, a cartel of major providers, etc, etc. Frankly, it doesn't matter what it is.

    What matters is that the controls, safeguards and processes intended to protect consumers are clearly not working. That's bad enough, but even worse, nobody in authority is doing anything about it. Where is Ofcom through all this?

    When the 5G spectrum comes up for auction, we can anticipate that all existing providers will bid for a slice of the service, because they want to grab the profits on offer from the big metropolitan hubs such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Southampton and so on. But they won't be interested in outlying regions with fewer clients. This is what the Regulator is supposed to be dealing with - to protect those of us who live in rural areas so that the big corporations don't cherry-pick the profits and leave everyone else. Buses, supermarkets, wired broadband, mobile phones.

    So what we need - what we have every right to expect - is for OfCom to refuse to grant 5G licenses to any provider that doesn't meet basic minimum criteria for coverage and quality for the existing services.

    Oh, wait. That's too sensible. Sorry, forgot.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much did the Albanian mobile operators pay for the spectrum? How much do their customers pay for the service?

    Here we seem to want more and more voice and data for free while the government want to charge huge amounts for the spectrum, how is the business model going to work long term? Where is the investment going to come from to add masts to improve coverage?

    I don't have the answers but it seems to be a business I wouldn't want to be in!

  27. IsJustabloke Silver badge
    Stop

    wow 54th?

    Seriously, who give a toss what they've got in other countries?

    We hear this sort of shit all the time, such and such country has 50% more inverse revers springent brackets than we do and really.. who cares? These sort of comparisons may be enjoyed by various politicians in the giant game of world willy waving they all indulge in but they are of precisely zero use to the average bloke/blokess on the street and there is zero chance that one of these reports will have any material effect.

    We'd just like for telcos of any stripe to reliably provide the services they advertise as offering (and charging us for) and stop fucking us about. Or at the very least be honest in their advertising.

    And yes, Nimbys have their part to play as well, as in shut the fuck up and let them build the infrastructure they need!

  28. foo_bar_baz
    Facepalm

    Landlines

    Did someone mention landlines? A landline phone is ancient history for anyone under 15 anywhere else in Europe. My kids wouldn't know how to use one.

    I'm about to get rid of my ADSL connection in favour of a 4G modem. Faster, unmetered, cheaper and I no longer need a static IP address so it makes no sense to keep using DSL. Unfortunately I live in a fibre black spot so that is out of the question.

  29. xpz393

    NIMBYs & draconian rules

    I agree with a USO, but the government needs to make this achievable.

    In a deadspot (for all networks) village near where I work, O2/Voda have been trying for the last couple of years to get a fairly minimalist-looking transmitter installed, but the locals keep stalling it, by protesting "think of the children" and "it's not pretty enough" b*ll*cks. I suspect that the networks either have or are close to walking away.

    There are also overarching rules on mast heights which probably don't exist in places like Albania, so it's little wonder they have better coverage.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019