Mobile operators going off the rails: Third of online tasks fail on trains

Nearly a third of all mobile Internet tasks fail while on commuter train routes, according to a new connectivity study by Global Wireless Solutions (GWS).

GWS engineers carried out the survey across the UK's most popular mobile service providers while travelling along the ten most frequented commuting routes in and out of London.

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On average, almost one in four 3G data packets and more than 37 per cent of 4G data packets travelling across the networks of the UK's four major operators failed to reach their intended destination.

In terms of which operators offered the best service, Vodafone provided the fastest and most reliable 3G data service, with EE coming out on top for 4G connections.

However, the survey also revealed that commuters are not only struggling with their mobile Internet connection, as 14 per cent of all voice calls also fail while on trains. The key reasons for poor call quality are likely to be that operators still use 2G networks to route their calls and half-rate codecs to decode voice call data.

GWS found that O2 used 2G networks more than 60 per cent of the time, and half-rate codecs were used for nearly a third of all calls. While EE and Vodafone did offer a more reliable service, they still relied on 2G connections 42 and 40 per cent of the time respectively.

GWS found that St. Pancras had by far the worst connectivity of all of the stations tested and Paul Carter, CEO of GWS, believes that commuters are getting a raw deal.

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"Leaves on the track, the wrong kind of snow, having to stand up all the way to work and back – commuters have enough to contend with without the kind of mobile connectivity problems we're revealing today," he said. "It's hard to believe we're in 2014 and in a situation whereby a trained wizard would have a tough time getting a signal on the Hogwarts Express while it's sitting in St. Pancras."