Network operators BT Cellnet, Vodafone, Orange and One2One all successfully connected in excess of 95 per cent of customers' calls over a six month period, according to the latest network performance survey from Oftel.
The success rate of connecting and completing calls has improved for all four operators from the rates in a survey published in October last year. The latest survey also contains greater information on the regional performance of the networks.
The operators undertook their own 'drive-round' surveys, making a minimum of 20,000 calls in 70 different towns and cities across the UK. Data was compiled from vehicles with roof-mounted aerials and automatic calling equipment.
Oftel were at pains to point out that the drivers of the vehicles did not make the calls, following the conclusion of the government funded Stewart Report that mobile use in cars can increase the chance of accidents, and that drivers should be dissuaded from using phones on the move.
The survey found that Orange led the pack for connecting and completing calls at the national level, with a 97.7 per cent success rate. It also managed a 99.1 per cent rate for successfully holding calls, and a 98.6 per cent success rate for setting up a call.
BT Cellnet narrowly pipped Vodafone to second place in connecting and completing calls with a 96.5 per cent rate compared to 96.4 per cent. One2One had a 95.6 per cent success rate at connecting calls at a national level.
The government watchdog, while delighted that the operators had published regional performance information, said consumers should not rely on the results to make purchasing decisions and that personal experiences may differ.
Full results can be viewed at the Oftel website: www.oftel.gov.uk/feedback/mble0500.htm.
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