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c2c and Streetwave Map Mobile Coverage on Essex Thameside Railway

Tuesday, Mar 19th, 2024 (8:00 am) - Score 760

Mobile network analyst firm Streetwave and train operator c2c have today published the results of a new real-world benchmark, which examined the mobile network (2G to 5G) performance of EE (BT), O2 (Virgin Media), Vodafone and Three UK across the Essex Thameside Railway route. Overall, EE customers get the best experience.

c2c operates the Essex Thameside railway contract. This corridor is a key rail route into London on the north Thames estuary, serving key towns such as Southend-on-Sea, Basildon, Grays and Tilbury, as well as large catchments in East London in areas such as Barking and Dagenham.

The rail link is relatively small and quite self-contained compared to many other routes into London, but the challenges that it faces in the future are significant (e.g. population growth). This helps to explain why it’s necessary to understand what experience passengers are having, particularly with regard to mobile connectivity (mobile broadband, calls etc.) and onboard WiFi (often fed by 4G and 5G links).

Streetwave typically adopts a scientific approach with their studies (i.e. they don’t use crowdsourcing), which collects data on an address-by-address basis and is designed to represent real-world consumer experience. The study is also network generation agnostic, meaning they don’t prioritise any connection technology type (2G to 5G) and allow each operator to manage them in the same way a consumer would be managed by the network.

Study Results

A total of three surveys were carried out to compare a passenger’s experience of the mobile networks between Peak and Off-Peak times. The surveys took place between 30th January 2024 and the 2nd February 2024. EE was found to have the highest levels of “Essential Coverage” along the line during both Peak times and Off-Peak times (86% and 98% respectively).

Essential Coverage is defined as a location where an operator delivers a 1Mbps download and 0.5Mbps upload speed simultaneously (i.e. serving only the most basic of needs).

Operator Essential Coverage During Off-Peak Times (%) Essential Coverage During Peak Times (%)
EE 98 86
Vodafone 97 72
O2 97 68
Three UK 91 82

EE also had the highest average download speeds along the line during both Peak and Off-Peak times (12.4 and 22.6Mbps respectively).

Operator Average Download Speeds During Off-Peak Times (Mbps) Average Download Speeds During Peak Times (Mbps)
EE 22.6 12.4
Vodafone 15 4.1
Three UK 13.5 11.3
O2 12.4 3.6
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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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1 Response
  1. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

    That’s depressing but unsurprising – from the point of view of commuters who mostly travel at peak hours, the coverage of the best performing network left them without a useable connection for one seventh of their journey (and from my experience that would be multiple dropouts). On the worst performing network that becomes three eighths of the journey. It’s as though rail operators have never heard of mobile networks, and mobile network operators have never heard of trains.

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