Ofcom says 3G Smartphones are problematic in many rural areas and advise to go back to 2G for better quality phone calls
Ofcom The UK regulatory body for communications has revealed findings of a study that seems to make a lot of sense to those struggling with brand new smartphones in rural locations, why? 3G connections are often unusable when not in more densely populated areas with good 3G access.
People living in rural areas should hang up their smartphones if they want to actually make phone calls, new research from communications regulator Ofcom suggests.
The telegraph is quoted saying:
“In the more rural areas that the phones were tested, the feature/entry—level phones generally returned somewhat better performance than smartphones for call completion and call setup”
The study revealed that the issue may be:
“Due to the reduced complexity of antenna on these devices and 2G phones not having issues in switching between 2G and 3G networks”
Feature phones have more internal space than their smartphone cousins:
The study found that feature phones simply have more space for aerials than smartphones which have limited space available due to the amount they need to pack in to deliver the high end services they are capable of offering.
Another reason they found that could cause problems with smartphones in rural areas is when they switch between 2G and 3G, knowing a bit about modulation technology, it can also be said that digital signals do not degrade like analogue and if the signal is not at a certain threshold you get nothing, simple, so it could be that rural areas are dropping out intermittently as their connections are potentially weaker than more built up areas which would produce a bad user experience.
Ofcom says mobile operators need to work hard to improve rural connections:
Ofcom says that by and large rural areas have good reception but need to work harder to improve things in general and with the imminent auction of the 4G bandwidth Ofcom want mobile operators to ensure that this next wave of technology allows rural users equal access with less issues than 3G has posed.
Advice to smartphone buyers:
If you are unsure if your coverage will be any good make sure you ask your operator what the area is like where you will be needing a good quality reception, your workplace, your home etc. Ofcom have said that consumers need also to check the service providers online information that can help indicate troubled hotspots.
Another tip is to ask friends with the model your after what they think if they live in your area, find out their network also, and if possible trial a connection on a pay as you go for your next provider if you already have a smartphone and the contract is due for renewal.Anthony Munns