Feeds

Tremble, operators: UK gets ACCURATE mobile coverage guide

Who is this stranger come to free us from your lying maps?

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A US company mapping mobile coverage has jumped the pond – nimbly bypassing the operators – and is now providing detailed UK coverage maps by combining professionally gathered data with cloud-sourced samples.

Root Metrics was set up in 2008 and has been happily plotting US network coverage since then, using researchers with standard handsets and smartphone apps downloaded by volunteers to create a hexagon map of the country showing what's available where. Now the hexagons have spread to Blighty, which the company sees as a staging post into Europe.

The business plan is to make money selling detailed reports to network operators and other interested parties. However the Google-maps-based coverage checker is free to use and shows actual reception of voice, messaging and data services as well as speed and reliability of the connection, and its backhaul.

That's in contrast to the network operators' maps which are calculated on expected reception based on cell sites and local topography, and often infuriatingly wrong as well as failing to register overloaded or badly back-hauled cells.

Root Metrics sends out researchers with standard handsets to measure reception, ensuring a decent spread of indoor and outdoor readings, but also provides iOS and Android apps which automatically or manually test network speed and quality to contribute to the mapping effort. In the US the focus was largely on voice and text, but the ubiquity of such services in the UK has allowed greater focus on the speed of data connections here.

So far only Hull has been properly mapped, but all the UK's major cities are sprouting data points, even if a few of them are slightly suspicious (the Verizon cell in Mayfair, and perhaps the availability of Sprint around the London Film Museum), but that's nitpicking - the vast majority of the data looks accurate.

In Hull it turned out that Three has the best data coverage, which shouldn't be surprising given how much emphasis the UK's smallest operator is putting on data these days, but being able to focus right down to street-corner level makes the maps from Root Metrics a good deal more useful than those from the operator, or the regulator.

Root Metrics will also be doing annual awards on the best network, and plans to start comparing handsets and tariffs in the future, once it's recognised as a decent source of impartial data. The model comes from JD Power and Associates, who fund the collection of customer-survey numbers though the sale of detailed analysis to the industry. Funnily enough, James David Power sits on the advisory board of Root Metrics.

It's not the hippy ideal of crowds freely sharing data between them, but the American operation is sustainable and there's no reason why the same model shouldn't work here – especially as LTE starts rolling out and network operators start shouting numbers which will need to be verified. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
Google eyes business service in latest Fiber trials
Lucky Kansas City buggers to host yet another pilot program
Huawei exec: 'Word of mouth' will beat Apple and Samsung in Europe
World Mobile Telephone Factory No.3 won't fling the big bucks around just yet
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.