Findings of mobile network measurement specialists regarding data speeds contrast tellingly with figures recently released by Ofcom

NOVEMBER 24, 2014 – LONDON, UK — High-level testing carried out in public houses by mobile network measurement specialists from Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. (GWS) has revealed that patrons are still having to rely on 3G data to resolve their boozy disputes and cheat at quizzes. The reliability of 3G data ‘packets’ averaged out at 91.1% across the four major UK operators in the 14 pubs GWS tested – whereas the reliability of 4G data packets averaged out at only 65.3%.

4G connectivity was particularly poor in one of the pubs closest to No. 10 Downing Street – the Silver Cross Tavern on Whitehall– and in The Sherlock Holmes just off Northumberland Avenue. In both cases only EE’s 4G network was accessible – and only to a limited extent, suggesting that excitement surrounding the roll-out of 4G+ in the capital is still somewhat premature.

Ofcom VS the real world

GWS’ engineers experienced average 3G download speeds of 2.0 Mbps at each stop on their pub crawl; the average 4G download speeds they enjoyed were a little over double this figure at 4.3 Mbps.

These numbers, gathered at a range of well-covered central London locations, are likely to be an accurate reflection of the experiences of pub patrons, and contrast withOfcom’s recent claims (that UK consumers enjoy average download speeds of 6.1 Mbps on 3G and 15.1 Mbps on 4G) which likely reflect potential network performance.

GWS engineers experienced average in-pub upload speeds of 1.0 Mbps while on 3G and 2.7Mbps on 4G.

Figure 1: how long is it likely to take you to perform classic pub activities on/with a smartphone? All times are in seconds:

Task 3G 4G
Time to load a 2MB Wikipedia article in order to solve a heated pub debate 10 5
Time to upload a 4MB picture of you drinking with your mates 34 17
Time to download a 4MB song for impromptu pub karaoke 19 9
Time to download 4 minutes of HD football footage 35 13


You might fall over in the pub – but networks won’t

Mobile operators and (most) landlords will be pleased to hear that drinkers are much more likely to fall over in pubs than the networks those drinkers use to make and receive calls. GWS’ testing team found that networks were ‘accessible’ for 97% of the time they spent testing in pubs. The average retainability of the test calls they made was 99.7% – in other words, only a tiny number of test calls ‘dropped’ part-way through. The average overall reliability of the main UK networks was 96.3% in the 14 pubs GWS tested.

Paul Carter, CEO of GWS, commented: “Great British pub culture is alive and well – but our research suggests that the days of going for ‘a quiet drink’ are over; your friends – and your boss – will have no trouble reaching punters while they’re reaching for their pints. That said, networks clearly have a lot more work to do when it comes to rolling out 4G; our data suggests that pub quiz cheats will be relying on 3G for some time yet.”

“With the right kind of political support, operators would be able to make faster progress on the 4G front – unfortunately, the misleading data put out by the regulator and the Government’s harsh ‘national roaming’ ultimatum have had the opposite effect. When these political attitudes change, consumers will benefit.”

Figure 2: Best pubs for a quiet(ish) drink?

Rank Pubs with Worst average call success rate
1 The Sherlock Holmes (Northumberland Street)
2 The Silver Cross Tavern (Whitehall)
3 The Clarence (Dover Street)



GWS’ engineers benchmarked 14 popular pubs in Central London, and used an array of 12 Samsung Galaxy S4s (powered by Rohde & Schwarz’s SwissQual QualiPoc Freerider) to gather data for its study of in-pub connectivity. Three SIMs from each of the four major UK operators (3, EE, O2 and Vodafone) were used during testing – in each case one SIM was used for voice testing, one SIM was used for 3G-only data testing, and one SIM was used for 4G-only data testing. An extremely wide range of voice and data metrics were analysed during the study of patrons’ in-pub experiences; a specific rundown of these metrics is available on demand. The figures posted have been weighted and stat-tested. Testing was conducted in June 2014.

Pubs tested

The Kings Head – Bond Street
The Spread Eagle – Oxford Street
The Clarence – Piccadilly
The Comedy – Coventry Street
The Moon Under Water – Leicester Square
The Victoria and Albert – Marylebone Station
The Rocket – Euston Road
The Silver Cross – Whitehall
The Rose and Crown – Park Lane
The Marquess of Anglesey – Bow Street
The Wellington – The Strand
The Sherlock Holmes – Northumberland Avenue
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – Fleet Street
The Fen – Fenchurch Street Station


About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.

Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. ( defines the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers standardized, high-quality network data and engineering analysis to its customers through a suite of benchmarking products, including drive testing, in-building and venue testing, and network performance testing utilizing the GWS Mobile Diagnostic app.

Firmly rooted in a deep understanding of network engineering, GWS provides best-in-class, turnkey solutions to help customers better understand overall network performance as today’s wireless networks grow and evolve.

Founded in 1996, GWS is headquartered in Dulles, VA. At last count, GWS has driven nearly 9 million data collection miles worldwide for its customers. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.

Media Contact:

Megan Hughes-Evans/Edward Butterfield
Diffusion PR
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