×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

In Rural UK, Old 2G Phones Beat 3G Smarphones For Connectivity

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the old-ways-are-best-ways dept.

Cellphones 88

hypnosec writes "A new research has showed that smartphones are worse in connectivity than 2G enabled mobile phones in remote areas in the United Kingdom. The research conducted by telecom watchdog OfCom has revealed that users should invest in mobile phones different than latest Smartphones, if they prioritize best reception for calls. 'As would be expected, all the 2G operators have widespread coverage of the roads that were surveyed with relatively few not-spots. 3G coverage is much lower on the roads driven, likely reflecting the stage of network roll out in Devon at the time of the study,' the OfCom has reported."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

88 comments

Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078640)

Iphone is suprisingly fussy about mobile reception in a congested city. If you have 3g enabled and are in one of the many odd spots it just won't ring. Calls just fail to get to you even with a good signal. Its very odd an absolutly infuriating when you miss an important call. And with 3g turned off you wonder what your paying the high subscription for?

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078784)

Blame your carrier - I can't say I have ever had that problem, and I live in a fringe area of coverage (half the time in areas with zero 3G coverage, half the time with reasonable 3G coverage).

Either that or your phone is faulty.

The only infuriating thing about the old iPhone 3G on iOS4 is that if it is "busy" (usually when trying to use the GPS) it will get bogged down enough that an incoming call will cause it to freeze up briefly, so the person on the other end might think the connection has dropped.

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081342)

The phone is faulty but this is because it's an IPhone. IPhones have some of the worst RF of any phone on the market, and in particular go to pieces under levels of congestion where other phones have no problems. It's *partly* the carrier's fault for allowing congestion to get high, but largely it is the faults of the IPhone.

          Anyway, I've got Verizon Wireless here in the US. 1) They have 3G on over 99% of their coverage area (the 1X-only coverage is so far out in the desert, I'd guess they can't get backhaul to these sites to allow for higher data speeds and such anyway.) 2) With a CDMA network like VZW has, the 3G (EVDO) is data-only, so there's no problems with fringe 3G coverage wrecking voice coverage.

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (0)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081990)

I've been told at the AT&T store from multiple reps that the customers all say the iPhone has the best reception of the smartphone bunch. Also, AT&T's 3G network is CDMA as well, and voice is the same as data AFAIK. You can use the AT&T network in both contexts at once - voice and data. Ya doin that with VZW much?

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (2)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078838)

Completely agree. I leave my iPhone's 3G off most of the time now since I've noticed that when it is enabled I get little to no signal. It's so bad that sometimes my phone will suddenly start beeping with all the calls that I missed because it was unable to get a signal and has only just managed to connect. I nearly missed out on a job because of the wretched thing dropping my calls.

My housemate's Android phone is on the same network as me and has zero problems. Only 1 more week to go until I can upgrade and chuck this POS in the bin.

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079106)

Only 1 more week to go until I can upgrade and chuck this POS in the bin.

"Most" of the contracts, allow for upgrades prior to the 2 years. I think 20 months is the requirement now.

-@|

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079014)

It's not the iPhone's fault that phone networks suck.

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079242)

"And with 3g turned off you wonder what your paying the high subscription for?"

And with 3g turned off you wonder what you're paying the high subscription for.

And with 3g turned off you wonder, what are you paying the high subscription for?

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37083592)

It's also pretty fussy in a rural area.

My GSM iPhone on AT&T has a very hard time in Vermont at my Mom's house. I'll pick it up and look at the signal strength and it shows five bars and 3G. So I fire up Safari and go to a website. And I'll just watch it go from five bars to four bars, then three bars, then two bars, then one bar, then "Searching..." then "No Signal."

If I leave it sit overnight unplugged, I'll wake up in the morning and find it's battery has died.

If I explicitly turn off 3G, everything is fine. The phone stays charged and it will consistently show "No Signal" (which is accurate).

Re:Disable 3g or iphone doesn't ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37085312)

Just to clarify, is the "Edge" network the same as 2G? I've not had connectivity problems with my iPhone 3GS. The only time I did was when going through one of those mountain tunnels in Tennessee. I've had dropped calls before, of course, but it's not been any worse than T-Mobile was (which isn't saying much). I dunno, maybe I just got desensitised to it by T-Mobile. I'm with AT&T now. If I don't have a 3G signal, it kicks over to the Edge network. I imagine that's pretty standard.

It sort of makes sense, though, that the older network would have more penetration than the new one. After all, it's had more time to penetrate. It's sort of a trade off - more coverage, or higher performance. When I'm on Edge connectivity, downloads are slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.

About the only thing I don't like about the iPhone is sort of a double-edged sword, and that's the jailbreaking thing. I've not done it with mine, since there really hasn't been anything I wanted to run on it that wasn't on the app store. I've heard about some expoits that only work if it's been jailbroken - like the one that exploited a SSH default password a while back. Now, ya, maybe that wasn't really much of an exploit, since you shouldn't leave default passwords. I've yet to run across one that works on a non-jailbroken iPhone (feel free to correct me on that, since I ain't omniscient . . . yet). If I ran across something I really wanted to run on my iPhone, I'd probably jailbreak it - but I just haven't run across said app yet.

3G (2)

dave024 (1204956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078644)

So there is more 2G coverage than 3G coverage? I am shocked. And can't many phones turn off 3G service and fall back to 2G?

Re:3G (4, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078724)

Yes, unsurprisingly 2G coverage is better than 3G coverage. All UK networks will fall back to 2G when 3G is unavailable, with the exception of 3 [three.co.uk], who don't have a 2G network. Their customers used to be able to roam onto Orange 2G, but that's slowly being turned off. [theregister.co.uk]

Re:3G (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079968)

Most phones will do this automatically, so this "study" is bogus. Even their numbers, 97% vs 95% success is so close that it can be considered statistically similar.

The reason for those numbers could range from different conditions during the testing hours (for example, number of cell phones in the area, weather, etc) to simply one or two of the phones tested not handling the switch well.

What baffles me is why would anyone study this. People really have too much time on your hands. And I have half a mind to say that they have no idea how most cell phones work.

Re:3G (3, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080084)

Many phones have an anti-sweet spot a mile wide where the 3G signal is strong enough to convince it not to switch, but too weak to actually work well.

Re:3G (2)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080414)

Many phones have an anti-sweet spot a mile wide where the 3G signal is strong enough to convince it not to switch, but too weak to actually work well.

I was just about to make the same point, your phone will hunt around endlessly trying to get a vaguely decent 3G signal, dropping in and out and generally being a pain, while you never have any problems with 2G. I have mine locked to 2G only in order to deal with this.

(And to forestall the inevitable "D00d ur phone is teh suck" that this is going to trigger, this is a general problem with many 3G phones. If you're in a strong-signal area you tend not to notice it much, but I'm in a somewhat marginal zone at the intersection of (at least) three cells (lots of hills playing havoc with reception and varying signal paths depending on my exact location), I've tried three different phones and they all spend most of their time hunting around for good connectivity on 3G, but just work on 2G).

Re:3G (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081166)

Well, their numbers showed 97% vs 95% "success". That's irrelevant, even if some phones are dumb enough to keep fighting for 3g.

Re:3G (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081290)

That study overall may not say much about it (I agree that 95% vs. 97% doesn't say much), but some people in particular areas may have a different experience. I have had bad cell days at home where the one and only solution was to force the phone to give up on 3G. Usually, the problem isn't that the phone doesn't ring (what the study measured) but that the call will be dropped repeatedly.

Re:3G (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37085668)

View it as 3% failure versus 5%. Does that change your perspective?

The failure rate increases by 66.7%. To me that's statistically significant.

Is it burdensome? Probably not.

Re:3G (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37089988)

You almost look like a major news outlet, spinning the numbers like that.

3% difference is what it was, and standard deviations usually cover that much.

It's like saying that buying two lottery tickets doubles your chances of winning. It does, but it's a ridiculously low chance.

Re:3G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081532)

Blame the operator. They should be able to choose the RSCP level at which a phone will start looking to switch down to 2G. Given this, they should be able to ensure that there is no 'anti-sweet spot'. If they broadly don't do this then they are incompetent.

Re:3G (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081572)

If they broadly don't do this then they are incompetent.

It probably has more to do with marketing over actual service. They need as many phones as possible claiming to be on 3G, even if it's useless.

Re:3G (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 2 years ago | (#37082020)

In addition to the other reasons posters have given, some networks put their 3G network on a higher frequency, but use the same towers. Hence, less service.

Re:3G (2)

PhotoJim (813785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37085692)

Also, CDMA/WCDMA services like UMTS change service area as they are under increasing or decreasing load. The coverage area of a 3G cell site is much larger when it's under zero load than when it's exceptionally busy. 2G GSM sites have a fixed coverage area (and a fixed capacity for calls). On UMTS, one more call on a busy site is probably going to work although the site loses a little coverage area. On 2G GSM, one more call on a site at capacity means that last call gets rejected (unless it's a 911/112 call). That could explain some of the issues.

Brit humor.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078686)

Oh. I get it. It's like one of those, "in soviet Russia..." jokes, but instead, "In rural UK..." Brit humor. Never could wrap my head around it.

Re:Brit humor.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079952)

Brit humor. Never could wrap my head around it.

You're not really supposed to: much of Britain's best comedy has come from absurdity - look at the likes of Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, The League of Gentlemen and you'll see.

The US comedy that's been exported here seems to be more about toilet humour, naked sexual innuendo and the mistaken belief that stupid people are inherently funny (they aren't). Oh yes, fat jokes too. I can't even imagine how people can bear to watch something like King of Queens, much less actually enjoy it. Now, before you reply remember that this is just my subjective opinion; it's not meant as an insult to you or your culture.

So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078716)

Seriously, who cares?

Whereas in Australia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078742)

3G is actually far better than 2G, at least with the formerly government owned's network [telstra.com.au].

Re:Whereas in Australia... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080632)

It depends on the distance to the base station which alternative that is the best. At long distance and where there are interference caused by trees and buildings 2G is better since the lower bit rate isn't as easily corrupted.

I suspect that it has a lot to do with the Shannon–Hartley theorem [wikipedia.org].

Re:Whereas in Australia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081588)

Nah. That is rubbish. For starters 3G uses 5MHz spectrum whilst GSM uses 200KHz - so from a physics point of view 3G already has a leg up. Using this additional spectrum 3G can include more redundancy in its coding which makes it better able to recover from corrupted bits. 3G can quite happily transmit at speeds comparable to EDGE/GPRS. It is much more to do with the frequency the technology is using. A 3G signal using 2100MHz will 'attenuate' a lot faster than a GSM signal using 900MHz.

Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078750)

I think this is basic knowledge to anyone who has spent some time with mobile phones. Phones are getting nicer screens, better graphics etc. but the actual talk and call abilities were pretty much optimized a long time ago by companies like Nokia who were in the business when talk was all that mattered.
Nowadays some companies are even willing to cut on the call quality because customers are valuing other parts more highly.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079026)

Yes, you are absolutely right. When I first used a mobile phone, it didn't do really anything but make calls and store numbers. It also didn't lock up or have poor battery life (it would go a week easily without a charge). More recent smart phones have all lost that. I remember my first smart phone (don't laugh) was a Windows Mobile 5.0 phone with a stylus and a Windows start menu. It could play solitaire! Woohoo, right? But it also would sometimes lock up. Worse, it would - maybe once a month - stop receiving calls with no warning. It was the beginning (for me) of the "OK, so they aren't great phones anymore but they play games and can browse the web" era. Each phone I have had since then (Motorola Droid 1, Motorola Droid 3, LG Revolution, Motorola Atrix, HTC Aria, etc.) has been like that: a nice enough device, but by no means a great phone. Battery life is poor, they do sometimes not get calls or stop being able to use the internet or text, etc. The basic phone parts sometimes have trouble with failing to turn off the touch screen while on a call so your face presses "end call", etc. The voice features have really not stayed up to par at all on modern smart phones.

Re:Nothing to see here (3, Interesting)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080034)

It's because we didn't constantly fuck with our phones back then!

An iPhone 4 can easily go a week without charging it if you turn off all the push functionality, e-mail checking, ONLY use it for calls and don't spend a lot of time on the phone.

But because we want to do so many things with our phones now, of course the battery life won't be as good as it used to be. :)

Remote location in UK? (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078762)

Remote areas in the UK? Surely you jest. The whole island isn't big enough to have any really remote areas. It shouldn't take more than one cell tower to cover the whole thing. :)

If you want remote areas, look at some place like Australia or Alaska. That's remote!

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078798)

To a Londoner, a map of the UK has London, the M25 and anything outside that marked "here be dragons".

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080476)

To a Londoner, a map of the UK has London, the M25 and anything outside that marked "here be dragons".

I think you'll find it's actually marked "Hail the Great Beast, destroyer of worlds!".

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37085404)

To a Londoner, a map of the UK has London, the M25 and anything outside that marked "here be dragons".

I think you'll find it's actually marked "Hail the Great Beast, destroyer of worlds!".

Is it hiding behind the rabbit?

...... AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! RUN AWAY!! RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!

Re:Remote location in UK? (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078832)

The UK includes Scotland, some parts of which are fairly remote.

Don't forget that its not just 'as the crow flies' distance, but also topography. The UK includes hills and mountains which tend to block higher frequency wireless transmissions. Its not all flat like parts of the USA.

I used to watch a British drama/comedy about a Scottish policeman on a small island. It was called Hamish Macbeth and starred Robert Carlyle. He was last seen on a show that was set in the most remote location (SGU)

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078954)

I was attempting to be humorous. Evidently, I was a bit too cryptic.

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079006)

I was attempting to be humorous.

You weren't even remotely successful. :)

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079052)

I thought it was (relatively) funny. If I happened to be modding this discussion I might have given it a 'funny'. But the sense of humor (along with the general sense of pretty much anything besides angst) is gone from here.

We really need blinky emoticons. Come on 'Taco - if we can't have Unicode, could we at least get emoticons?

Please?

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079162)

I think it's funny that you rail against the lack of sense of humor (apparently gone from the good old days of "hot grits") and completely miss the parents joke.

Re:Remote location in UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080082)

Maybe he's not smar enough to get the joke?

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080276)

I'd be interested to know whether there's anywhere in England that is even remotely remote. I'd wager you _couldn't_ be a few miles away from a road or house, anywhere in England. I'm guessing some of Northumberland or perhaps Yorkshire would be the most remote places... perhaps the peak district, or somewhere up near Carlisle.

I know there are some areas of Scotland that are pretty remote - there are more people living in London than Scotland, so that's to be expected, right? Wales doesn't really have that remote places, because despite having some inhospitable mountains, they are well interspersed with valleys.

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080500)

If I remember correctly, the most remote place in the UK (defined as "furthest distance from a road") is the "Great Wilderness" [nigelspencer.co.uk]... the most "remote" point is about 7 miles from the nearest road. It's a very scenic region.

That's where my trivia finishes, I have no idea about England...

Re:Remote location in UK? (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37085716)

Or Canada. 90%+ of the country has no coverage but 98% of the population has coverage because Canadians tend to live fairly close to the US border (the climate is warmer there).

And the actually important question... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078792)

Obviously, in areas with comparatively early cell build-outs, there are very likely going to be areas where less-than-bleeding edge is all you get. So, if you live in one of those, paying a premium for some zOMG 4G++!!! burn-through-your-monthly-data-cap-in-10-minutes device is not a good plan. Ok. So much is obvious.

The relevant question is, do recent devices fall back gracefully, and how do older or 2G only devices compare to their contemporaries in terms of things like antenna quality? Having a 3G device; but being limited to 2G capabilities in a 2G area is simply an inevitable inconvenience. If, however, 3G devices that just silently fail outside of 3G areas, or take excessively long times to fall back, or do some silly little dance where they switch between a hopelessly weak 3G signal and the available 2G tower every couple of seconds, or if contemporary RF design is based on the theory that all customers loath antennas and live 300 meters from a cell tower, then the fact that some areas are 2G only starts to factor into your buying decision...

This applies to the USA as well. (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078830)

There are still many places in the USA where there is no 3G, or limited 3G while 2G coverage is decent. As a result, turning off 3G is needed if you want reliable service.

Re:This applies to the USA as well. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078912)

Phones also need to get a lot better at switching between the various types of connections.

Smartphone users are too cool for Devon. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078858)

Besides, the "late-night aggressive shopping" is better in Tottenham.

Re:Smartphone users are too cool for Devon. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078928)

As the good Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz is unfortunately too dead to note:

"Looting is Consumerism by other means."

Re:Smartphone users are too cool for Devon. (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079010)

Actually, he would have said something like: Looting is the extension of consumerism by other means (yet more radical and if in any way possible to be avoided).

He also defined war rather nicely as "a means to force ones will upon the enemy". To stick with the parallel, looting would be a means to acquire consumer goods against the will of the shop owner ... see, Clausewitz was a bore.

Coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37078860)

I live in the middle of a town in UK and I get not connection 90% of the time! No 2G, no 3G, not with older dumbphones nor newer smartphones. Instead of saying it's bad somewhere why not just say the truth - UK is light years behind Europe when it comes to things like broadband or network coverage. Ridiculous!

Troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080420)

(just pointing that out for any non-UK residents who won't know better)

Re:Coverage? (1)

RavenManiac (220921) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081992)

I live east of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The only phones with any reception are Nokia phones. Best is the old 1100, then 6010, older N-series. Newer phones get worse reception. Nothing at all with Moto, S-E, iPhone. Samsung. Bummer.

Nokia 1100 doesn't even have a camera. The flashlight is wonderful.

Changing priorities (1, Insightful)

McGregorMortis (536146) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078870)

The 2G phones were designed at a time when the manufacturers still thought people gave a shit about coverage or battery life.

Apple has shown us all that they don't. Give 'em a slick user-interface and an App Store, and they'll just accept the poor coverage and the need to charge the phone every day.

Re:Changing priorities (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079080)

As you've noted about battery life and radio performance, they are neither shiny nor black, so they were omitted from Apple's design consideration. Which boggles the mind of us engineers who thinks that a cell phone's very utility is defined by its radio performance and battery life.

Contrast that with the Motorola engineer. They put up a laundry list of functions, like "it's got to have 172 hours of battery life, must have a range of 3 miles, talk time of 360 minutes, store 1200 contacts, and weigh less than 100 grams." They then engineer the product, and relentlessly squeeze it smaller and smaller. They expect the design guys will make the case look attractive with the appropriate color finish and bits of chrome, and that the software guys will figure out a pretty UI that will expose the features they've been given in the hardware API.

Engineers may occasionally forget it, but Apple has it ingrained into the core of their business that a piece of technology must be designed to fit the human being first. How it fits your hand, your pocket, how it appears to the eye, consistent UI navigation, etc. As an engineer, I'm often frustrated by the resulting product performing like crap. But I learned long ago that I'm not most people, and that I've never been very good at judging what kind of crap most people will accept or what they'll give up for fashion.

Re:Changing priorities (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079702)

Contrast that with the Motorola engineer. They put up a laundry list of functions, like "it's got to have 172 hours of battery life, must have a range of 3 miles, talk time of 360 minutes, store 1200 contacts, and weigh less than 100 grams."

That may be the way of the Motorola hardware engineer. Unfortunately, the marketing department then get the software engineers to load the battery-and-privacy killing MOTOBLUR onto their nice hardware. They also have locked bootloaders when other Android manufacturers are going the other way.

Re:Changing priorities (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080284)

Oh, I know. I didn't want to get into the whole lockdown / DRM / AppStore / SIM-locking / kill-flexibility-to-stifle-competition bits. That's the extra crap poured in by a company trying to commit evil. Apple and Motorola are certainly notorious for being the worst, but all of the phone makers are complicit with some set of lowlifes such as the RIAA and Verizon.

I've often thought a cool advertisement for HTC would be to show a picture of the various (legitimate) Cydia repositories, and say "Look at all the apps that Apple decided you couldn't have. Our Android phones won't ever lock you out of your own phone."

Re:Changing priorities (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081088)

I like the Architect point of view, that it must first function, but aesthetics are very important as well. Striking a balance in an elegant way is the most impressive, imho.

Re:Changing priorities (4, Insightful)

farnsworth (558449) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080930)

The 2G phones were designed at a time when the manufacturers still thought people gave a shit about coverage or battery life.

Apple has shown us all that they don't..

I think history disagrees with you. The first iPhone was 2G despite 3G radios existing and working in the wild. They didn't put a 3G radio into the phone until they were small enough and efficient enough. The tradeoff was low-bandwidth vs battery life, and Apple decided battery life was more important. There is nothing particularly cutting edge about any of the iPhone's hardware at all. They use solid parts with good specs, but they are never "the best" that is available at the time. They do this specifically to improve battery life and ensure basic functionality.

You can complain about the UI and App Store all you like, but I don't think Apple has ever made a phone that sacrifices coverage and battery life for the sake of wowing customers.

With chargers everywhere, battery life not imprtnt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37082270)

With micro USB as the standard mobile phone charger, every computer is effectively a mobile phone charger. If there are chargers everywhere, is battery life that big a deal?

Re:With chargers everywhere, battery life not impr (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37082692)

With micro USB as the standard mobile phone charger, every computer is effectively a mobile phone charger. If there are chargers everywhere, is battery life that big a deal?

Yes.

Next stupid quetion?

Stupid statistics (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37078892)

The regulator went on to add that older phones passed the call testing with 97 percent success rate while latest Smartphones managed only 95 percent during the test.

It's just 2% difference (and we don't have any information about statistical population). So if they tested 100 2G phones and 100 smartphones, 3 2G phones and 5 3G phones where not suited for the given area. Wow, big deal...

Re:Stupid statistics (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37085810)

2 percentage points, not 2%. Think of it as call failure rates of 3% and 5% and now you're looking at a 66.7% difference (.05/.03 = 1.666.., hence .666... or 66.7% increase).

Re:Stupid statistics (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37091392)

2 percentage points, not 2%. Think of it as call failure rates of 3% and 5% and now you're looking at a 66.7% difference (.05/.03 = 1.666.., hence .666... or 66.7% increase).

Mathematically you are right, but what this 66,7% increase really means? If you have 0.000000000000000005 and 0.000000000000000003 fail rate (meaning in the real life that a fail rate in both cases is insignificant) you will also have an increase of 66.7%.
Given statistic can be interpreted as a minor difference between 2G and 3G (as I see it) or like a significant 66,7% increase in the fail rate (as someone will see it from your numbers)

That's NOT what the report said. (1)

Bazzargh (39195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079016)

The article misrepresents the Ofcom report. Here's what the report actually said:

However, 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. This 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. These performance differences are likely in practice to be modest, and not necessarily a factor that consumers should base their choice of phone on.

Source: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/telecoms-research/mobile-not-spots/mobile-coverage-for-consumers/ [ofcom.org.uk]

They go on to say that this may be in part due to the complexity of switching between 3G and 2G and that it can be mitigated by turning off 3G in your smartphone in rural areas...construing this as "users should invest in mobile phones different than latest Smartphones" is a bit of a leap.

2G? How can this be? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079216)

In the US, particularly on slashdot, we are routinely told about the superior unlimited 100% 4G coverage in the UK, Europe, Asia that is provide for something like $5 a year. What's this 2G nonsense?

Re:2G? How can this be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37081242)

Well someone's got something wrong, because we don't have 4G in the UK. Nor in any parts of western Europe that I noticed.

Re:2G? How can this be? (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37082702)

Well someone's got something wrong, because we don't have 4G in the UK. Nor in any parts of western Europe that I noticed.

They don't have it in the US either.

("4G" is American marketing speak for 3G)

What do you know about sine waves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37079296)

This is self explanatory if you stop to think about it..... 2g works on a lower frequency, which means they have a longer wave length. In the US and Canada for certain, they use the same tower to broadcast the 3g signal as well as the 2g signal, and they are not allowed to broadcast beyond a certain power level. When you are broadcasting from the same point, the 2g signal WILL travel farther than the 3g signal before the signal degrades beyond usable. This is only going to get worse when they introduce 4g, as it requires an even higher frequency. The cell companies either need to erect more towers, which is not cost effective for them since they are already dealing with a crumbling infrastructure, or they need to stop introducing technologies that require higher and higher frequencies, which they don't want to do, as the higher the frequency, the faster the data rate, and they need faster Internet for these so called 'smart phones'. It's a catch 22 for the companies, and either way, we the customers, seem to be getting the short end of the stick.

850/900 vs 2100MHz (1)

dingram17 (839714) | more than 2 years ago | (#37082552)

In Australia the old CDMA band is being used for 850MHz UMTS, with very good coverage, in fact better than 2G, by Telstra. Optus & Vodafone use 900MHz UMTS in some of their GSM spectrum. This can be done because they have a spectrum licence. What they do with their chunk of spectrum is their business. All three carriers also operate 2100MHz UMTS, but Telstra is focusing its efforts on 850MHz. Voda & Optus are sticking to dual bands since 2100MHz gives more capacity (greater chunk of spectrum) for city use. Telstra's chunk of 850MHz is big enough for city use too. Europe is rolling out 900MHz UMTS and the US and Canada also have 850MHz UMTS.

Lower frequency UMTS can have better coverage than GSM for the same power level. GSM is a TDMA system and the normal timeslots limit subscribers to being within 35km of the base. This was a problem in Australia with the large wide open spaces with just enough hills for good cell sites. Telstra tweaked the standard to only use half the timeslots, letting subscribers be up to 70km away. The CDMA signalling used by UMTS doesn't have this problem, and just like CMDA2000 the limitation is based on signal strength.

I'm guessing that there would be very places in the UK that are more than 35km from a cell site. Are any carriers using 900MHz UMTS? I'd suspect too that the 2G signals giving better coverage are all 900MHz ones, as 1800MHz is quite similar in propagation to the standard 2100MHz frequency of 3G in Europe).

Most Phone have the option to swith between 2G/3G (1)

packetspike (1111809) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079658)

Most phone's and all smart phone's can switch settings and you can hard set the 2G if you like, so don't be silly and dumb down your device, just get smart and use the setting available to you,

As a resident of Devon (1)

msavory (1734428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37079886)

I can verify the coverage is awful, but then not receiving any sort of reception at all is common. Making a phone call from some of the more rural locations is impossible.

laws of physics in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080180)

big distance = big antenna
shit distance = 1" pcb printed circuit antenna in a metal box

maybe if phones had an external antenna capability it wouldnt be so much of problem, at least for cars

but this is simple physics, go ask a HAM radio guy/gal what the performance of a integrated PCB antenna is compared to an external single whip vs a yagi vs a dipole, protip: try not to get in the way of whatever they are drinking when they blow it in your face laughing.

Solution: Buy crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080190)

So the solution is to buy out of date phones, and not build new/fix 3G networks? Why does that not surprise me?

Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080372)

Ooh, a smarfone!

Surely this is not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080448)

to anyone who has ever ventured 50 miles form an urban centre. I have long observed that phone reception and battery life both shrink to zilch when you go "down the country". As I have rural relatives that I visit often I have developed my own routine for surviving this. Firstly switch off automatic carrier selection because the battery drains very quickly when the phone is hunting between carriers. Secondly switch off 3G mode if your phone allows it. Finally switch off Wifi unless you know the place you are staying supports it. On the bright side at least you can probably get a very good gps signal.

Mildly humorous anecdote: 10 years ago my farmer brother in law was an active member of a local anti-phone mast group who lobbied against a mast being erected on a local mountain citing both aesthetic and health reasons. He has spent most of the time since complaining about not being able to get a decent phone signal.

that's why decent phone and operator support both! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080530)

well doh 2g tech with it's bigger cells has more coverage and more penetration with it's wavelength, especially if they're talking about 900mhz 2g! but why do you have separate operators for tech that's shipped in devices that has handovers between the technologies? I mean, I'm writing this over an edge connection but should I take this outside of this cabin to a better spot I'd get switched to pretty decent 3g. but having separate operators for these two technologies is a total fail of grand scale.

I guess uk is special with it's crap "3", the licensing bodies seemed to really fuck the spectrum use up there.

btw. 900mhz 3g makes all the difference where it's available - and these proper 2.5g support and 3g switching are the things that separate crap phones with crap comm chips from decent phones which support the network like they're supposed to(why don't some 3g phones have edge support? well, that's actually partially again fault of the licensing bodies for the spectrums).

(actually the article seems to mention that it's just some crappily designed smartphones which have troubles with 2g to 3g switching, you see, money doesn't buy quality everytime, 100e phone might function better than a 600e showpiece)

That's why I'm on T-Mobile (1)

Cloud K (125581) | more than 2 years ago | (#37080572)

Generally there are the good 2G networks that have rather lackluster 3G networks (O2, Vodafone)
And vice versa (The others)

But T-Mobile uses 3's 3G network (which I consider easily the best) and a combined T-Mobile+Orange 2G network (not as good as Vodafone's 2G coverage but really not bad at all). Seems a really good all-rounder. And they have nice modern Twitter based support where they actually answer you.

Old Tech Is Sometimes Better Than New... (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081100)

I found that out in the military. Navy, to be precise?

We were at sea on training exercises, and had been off Oahu all week long. It was Friday, and we were supposed to be coming back into port on Monday, but due to some of our gear going *BZORCH*, we wanted to come in early for repairs.

Naturally, we were down on CUDIXS, which meant no outgoing message traffic, which meant no talking to the port engineer in Pearl.

I was on the O2 level with my old, 1-penny analog brickphone, talking to friends and family while we were 12 miles off shore. The Ops officer was trying to use his small, expensive, shiny Motorola digital sport phone, and not getting anything. I knew if he couldn't get through, we were going to be spending the weekend at sea, so I offered him my phone.

"That thing won't get any signal out here," he sneered. "What's the number, sir?" He humored me and told me, so I dialed.

"Yes, this is petty officer "Ionotter", is the port engineer there? Yes, thank you. Hello, sir? Yes, this is (PO "I") with the Reuben James? My Ops officer wants to talk to you. Sure, here he is."

And we got to pull into port before 1630.

If you're line of sight, digital is fine. If you want OTH, stick with analog. (And for the record, the best I've done was 90 miles off the Na'Pali coast of Kaua'i, with three full bars.)

Re:Old Tech Is Sometimes Better Than New... (3, Informative)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081232)

Sometimes, but you have to be careful when comparing to understand the context.

For example, 2G is usually deployed at 900 MHz while 3G is deployed at 2.1 GHz. The lowest the frequency, the better the propagation characteristics. But 3G at the same frequency is way better than 2G, so when operators "refarm" old 2G frequencies by switching them to 3G, then 3G coverage improves.
LTE will be a mixed bag here: the most common frequency bands will be in 2.3 or 2.6 GHz for dense coverage (urban), but in the "digital dividend" bands (old analog TV bands) at 700 or 800 MHz depending on the countries the coverage will be excellent. While 2G had to stay around to provide an umbrella coverage to the higher frequency 3G, an operator with LTE in both 2.6 and 0.8 GHz (should be common in Europe) will have both capacity AND coverage with LTE alone. So there will only be a need for 2G and 3G for legacy devices, but the switch may be faster (once they have deployed. Which they're in no hurry to do, as they want to milk their 3G network whose licenses cost them so dear).

Another factor is the maximum allowed transmit power. Old standards used pretty high max power compared to more modern standards. 2G maximum is 33 dBm for example, while 3G is 23 dBm typically (from memory, I may be a bit off there...). 4G is also at 23 dBm, which is the "new normal" and shouldn't change.

And then of course, there's the form factor. The huge analog brick phones had large external antennas with better gain than the more modern compact phones.

But people want small products that do not fry their brain, and the remaining frequencies tend to be the high ones. Still, if you compared both systems at equal max transmit power and form factor and frequency, the performance of the most recent standards would be better (particularly for non line of sight operation). The tech underneath is truly superior, but the products are optimized for other demands than old analog phones (which had to handle spotty coverage, while 2G products are designed with a good coverage in mind). And it's fair to say that 2G and 3G phones are not designed for the situation you described ;)

Same Here (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081504)

I'm in the heart of the USA. And one of the things I noticed about my brother, daughters, my male friend, and others, is all of their $500 smart phones just wouldn't receive calls sometimes. The phone just wouldn't ring. Now finally I and two other people on my phone plan have gotten Android phones, leaving only my mother with a non-Smart, basic flip phone. Although my phone has been fairly reliable, nephew tried to call me once and my phone never rang. And this is in an area with good cell phone coverage. I even get 4G. So he had to call my mother on her flip phone and tell her to pass the message on to me. It's only happened to me once but still, as far as I know, my mother with her flip phone is the only person in the family who hasn't missed any calls due to the phone just not ringing.

Re:Same Here (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37083620)

And this is in an area with good cell phone coverage. I even get 4G.

Keep in mind that those may be two different things.

For Verizon and Sprint customers, 4G is a completely different set of radios. Voice calls continue to use CDMA. So it's quite conceivable that you could have spotty voice and awesome data.

At some point in the future, Verizon plans to support voice calls on their 4G LTE network and, ideally, phones can shut off the CDMA radio until they're out of 4G range. In the meantime, though, you're running two radios on different frequencies.

It's expected in the technology used in 3G. (1)

Damnshock (1293558) | more than 2 years ago | (#37081762)

And the "penetration" within buildings, and the battery life... it's something *known* in the design of the 3G systeme!

Learn to write, fucktard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37084526)

"[DELETE]A[/] new research has showed that smartphones are worse in connectivity than 2G enabled mobile phones in remote areas in the United Kingdom. The research conducted by telecom watchdog OfCom has revealed that users should invest in mobile phones [DELETE]different[/] [INSERT]other[/] than [INSERT]the[/] latest Smartphones, if they prioritize [INSERT]getting the[/] best reception for calls. 'As would be expected, all the 2G operators have widespread coverage of the roads that were surveyed with relatively few [DELETE]not-spots[/][INSERT]dead areas[/]. 3G coverage is much lower on the roads driven, likely reflecting the stage of network roll out in Devon at the time of the study,' [DELETE]the[/] OfCom has reported."

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...