Whenever I'm in the UK I can't help the feeling that the mobile networks are far away from the coverage and performance I've come to expect in Germany and Austria. But maybe it's just me?
No it's not as P3, who test the German, Austrian and Swiss networks for the 'Connect' magazine now also has results for the UK. For details see the PDF that can be download here. Looks like much hunch was indeed correct. While the winner in the UK would barely make it to the 3rd place in Germany, it would be the worst network by a wide margin in Austria and Switzerland. Datarates on average across the board are only a fraction what they are in other countries and voice call setup success rates are several percentage points away from those in other countries. Doesn't sound like much at first perhaps, but take it from me, network engineers are fighting for tenths of a percent in this area.
The report comes to the conclusion that there is a lot of room for improvement but at least the latest technology is already used, so if there is a will there is a way. That makes one wonder why the result is so different in the UK!? Many people attribute it to the cut throat pricing in the UK. While I'm convinced that this is part of the answer, it can't be the whole story as prices in Austria have been at very low levels for years now as well (take my recent experience in Austria as a good example) but network performance of all remaining network operators there is still excellent.