Free BBC Android App Released To Map UK 3G Coverage

The BBC are launching a project so that they can map out the UK’s 3G reception. These will be recorded via an Android app they have just put on the Market for free. Unfortunately for technical reasons the study will only be undertaken with Android devices, so anyone on iOS hoping to help the cause, you may be disappointed.

Most of the network providers already have their own coverage maps but the TV corporation are for some reason hoping to create one of their own. According to Tech Radar, when you download the app to your Android device it will record each handset’s mobile phone signal all the time the phone is switched on. The information recorded will then be plotted out on the BBC’s interactive map.

The data that is collected will be anonymous, the app will only record your location and 3G signal. It will not intrude or take any personal details from your device. Once the BBC has collected enough data and created their 3G coverage map for the UK then they will publish the results on their website. However no time scale of any kind has been given as to when enough data will be obtained.

It could be that the BBC expand their broadcasts to mobiles as well as TVs, here in the UK we have 3G but are in the very earliest of testing stages with the much coveted 4G LTE technology. The mobile collaboration Everything Everywhere which is made up of Orange and T-Mobile are sampling the UK’s first ever 4G in Cornwall later this year. The BBC also recently tested broadcasting 3D, sampling it during the final match of this year’s Wimbledon Tennis tournament.

Electric Pig reports that Vodafone created a Twitter coverage map last year. They got customers to manually submit their current location and signal, where the BBC are using an app which does all of the work for the test subject. The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones who is the main man behind the project, believes that if it can succeed, then they can “yield some very interesting results”.

The results could tell the BBC whether for example some UK operators provide better services than others, if coverage across cities is consistently good and if mobile networks can offer broadband connectivity in parts of the UK where the fixed line service is patchy. These are all things that the BBC are hoping to discover, but what for? Let us know if the thought of the BBC launching some form of 4G mobile wireless network in the UK seems remotely possible.