Ambition North Wales recently undertook a survey to measure 4G mobile coverage across the region’s main transport routes. The findings from the survey will be used to improve digital connectivity in North Wales and to understand where investment may be needed.
The survey follows a 2021 consultation with regional industry representatives, who stated that inconsistent 4G connectivity on transport networks is affecting economic activity in the region, including tourism and transport operations. In development with connectivity consultants FarrPoint, the survey focused on measuring 4G connectivity on the region's A and B roads and the rail network.
The results of the survey found the following:
(Indoor/In-vehicle) coverage on A roads:
- A good quality* indoor/in-vehicle 4G service was recorded from one or more operators on 75% of A roads in the region
- A good quality indoor/in-vehicle 4G service was recorded from three or more operators on 28% of A roads
- A good quality indoor/in-vehicle 4G service was recorded from all four operators on 10% of A roads
(In carriage) coverage on train routes:
- A good quality in-carriage 4G service was recorded from one or more operators on 56% of the rail network surveyed
- A good quality in-carriage 4G service was recorded from three or more operators on 43% of the rail network surveyed
- A good quality in-carriage 4G service was recorded from all four operators on 18% of the rail network surveyed
These findings provide valuable evidence for Ambition North Wales to consider which areas require Growth Deal funding in order to provide greater impact to residents, businesses and the wider economy.
Stuart Whitfield, Digital Programme Manager for Ambition North Wales, said: “The results from the mobile survey will help us make informed decisions on where to direct investment for improving mobile connectivity within our region. It is important that decisions are supported with strong independent evidence of need, allowing us to see which areas lack coverage."
“Whilst 4G coverage is relatively good in some parts of North Wales, elsewhere it remains an issue for residents, businesses and visitors to the region. Along with the UK government’s wider Shared Rural Network project, Ambition North Wales aims to improve mobile coverage on our transport networks as a priority through the Growth Deal.”
Colin Henderson, Senior Consultant at the independent connectivity consultancy, FarrPoint, said: “We are delighted that Ambition North Wales chose to partner with us to independently map mobile coverage in North Wales. Rather than just relying on carrier data and predicted modelling, which make it difficult to build an accurate picture of connectivity, Ambition North Wales, now have a holistic real-life view of mobile coverage in the area and will be able to make more informed decisions.
Having delivered many similar projects across the UK and Canada – we know how valuable this data is in resolving longstanding connectivity issues.”
For more information on mobile connectivity in North Wales, visit Ofcom’s mobile availability checker: View mobile availability - Ofcom Checker.
*We have used the Ofcom stated threshold to deliver a good quality of experience to consumers on the 4G network. This is the signal strength required to at a minimum deliver a 98% probability of making a 90 second telephone call successfully. In the case of 4G specifically, the definition also delivers a 95% chance of getting a download speed of at least 2Mbit/s.