The BBC is to survey the state of the mobile phone network in the UK by asking Android smartphone users to run an application that records the quality of 2G and 3G coverage from mobile operators.
All mobile phone providers, such as O2 and Orange, offer coverage maps, but the BBC explained that there is no independent data available to customers based on end-user information.
The corporation is asking Android smartphone users to download the free UK 3G Survey application, which has been developed by network analysis firm Epitiro. Both companies have stressed that no data will be stored and that all measurements will be anonymous.
The chief executive of Epitiro, Gavin Johns, told V3 that the application works by sending back signal information on 2G or 3G coverage to help generate a better insight into mobile network landscape across the UK.
"We heard a lot of anecdotal evidence from users that certain firms don't provide good coverage in certain regions, or some are a lot better than others, so we thought it would be interesting to use our technology to test this out," he said.
"Because the application runs in the background on Android devices we can get repeat results from users and from this we can start producing maps based on the data we receive, with the first one due in around a month's time."
Johns added that a BlackBerry application is in development and will be released in the autumn as will an iPhone version, but explained that due to restrictions on running apps in the background on iOS it would need users to pro-actively run the application.
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