The performance of smartphones on the UK’s 3G networks is beginning to generate significant media attention. Issues such as network coverage and the role of data-intensive devices in stretching capacity to the limit are getting plenty of focus.
The BBC’s flagship Radio 4 Today programme ran a story last week talking about how iPhone users had struggled to access the Internet at the speeds they had hoped for.
BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones’ blog attracted more than 250 comments on the subject in just 48 hours, with many customers saying they were disappointed with the connection speeds they achieved on mobile broadband dongles and while accessing the mobile internet on smartphones.
These stories show just how important the issue of 3G network coverage and capacity have become and how vital they are to mobile network operators.
It also explains why at 3 we’ve made network performance one of our main focuses.
In 2010, as we did last year, we will invest both money and energy to further improve our network, so we can consolidate our position as the biggest and best 3G network in the UK. My colleagues Marc and Graham have posted about this here and here.
In the past two weeks I have received comments from customers in places as diverse as Ilfracombe in Devon, Tenby in Dyfed, Oxted in Surrey and even areas of London commenting on how their coverage has improved as we upgrade our network. There are areas that we’re still working on to get the level of service we believe our customers deserve, but these are becoming fewer and fewer as our network continues to grow. You can check three.co.uk for information on our regional upgrade programme.
We’ve added over 2,000 new sites since the beginning of 2009 and we’ll be adding another 3,000 this year to bring our 3G coverage to over 98% of the UK’s population – considerably more than the 93% currently claimed by Orange.
For our customers this will mean quicker and more reliable connections and better coverage throughout the UK both indoors and outdoors.
It is clear that 3G networks and their ability to deliver are now the story. So although we might be the newest player to the mobile market, when it comes to the future of mobile broadband connections, we are leading the way.