Your 3G coverage - hotspot or notspot?

Mobile broadband is the newest moneyspinner for the big networks – but just how good is the 3G coverage where you live?

Until know, you’ll have had to make do with a ‘hit and hope’ approach, signing up for mobile broadband and crossing your fingers that you’ll get a decent, if any coverage. Not any more.

Ofcom have compiled maps of the 3G hotspots and notspots for each of the major service providers, dated in January of this year, and you can see them in PDF form here.

Three, who were 3G pioneers, fare well, as do Orange, whereas the 3G power wielded by T Mobile, O2 and Vodafone is, to be frank, piss poor. This explains why surfing the net using your mobile phone or your dongle can be as laborious and aggravating as trying to removed a thorn from your paw with a tea spoon.

If you live in the countryside, you probably shouldn’t even be reading this, because it looks like no one even wants you to have the internet. You should probably stick to thatching roofs and drink driving at night.


  • GJD
    If OFCOM was to force competing networks to share masts/equipment and not apply for planning permission for a mast each, maybe things would improve.
  • Lumoruk
    I can tell you now the coverage of Cornwall on the south coast is wrong I was only about a mile out to sea, I couldn't even get 2G so that map is bull shit - O2 btw
  • Simon
    Coverage in Norwich is just pants... I turn it off cos it wastes battery all day switching between the two.
  • G R.
    Think i might buy a boat to live on... nice coverage off the coast!
  • Lumoruk
    G my post
  • Boon
    Everyone has always suspected this with the unreliable networks of o2 or Vodafone, and this offers official proof of this. Mobile broadband resellers should be made to warn customers about poor coverage and direct potential customers to this Ofcom website to check their coverage.
  • Elsie
    I've tried all the networks except voda. the only one I got decent service and speed from was orange, three was the worst closely followed by o2 then tmobile. most of my usage is on a narrow boat in leicestershire countryside.
  • Bet S.
    3 coverage is terrible all over, regardless of what the maps say. I've recently been travelling between london and the coast and there was only 2 or 3 places with any decent signal. In fact, at home i get better connection and speeds on 2g. If my phone and dongle try to use 3g they just hang. Same with making calls- i have to manually switch the phone to 2g if i wanna speak to someone. And it's not environmental as other networks work perfectly in the same spots. And even trying my sim in different handsets produces the same results.
  • John R.
    I recently applied for a 3G mobile broadband dongle - but before it arrived, I managed to borrow a friend's laptop and dongle. To my amazement, it fails to find any signal in Beckton, London E6 where I live - even though the sales rep on the other end of the phone assured me that it would be alright! I am sending it back.

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