Why do mobile phone calls keep dropping out?

1 min read

At last year's Future World Symposium – organised by NMI – Imagination Technologies' vp of marketing Tony King-Smith wondered 'why are we talking about 5G when we still can't keep a 2G call going?'

I'll make a confident statement: everybody reading this – certainly those in the UK – has had a mobile phone call drop out. And it's likely this happens regularly.

A study published last year by Ofcom found that 12% of mobile phone users reported having no signal or reception at some point every day, with 30% saying this happened once a week. When it came to dropped calls, 22% of users reported this happening at least once a week. Users in remote rural communities appear to be more exasperated, with 28% saying they had no signal at some time every day.

Prime Minister David Cameron has first hand experience of this, revealing last year that he had to cut short holidays in Cornwall due to poor mobile phone reception.

However, I'll also suggest that most of us have not only lost calls in the city, but have also stared in desperation at our phones in places where we might expect coverage, willing just one bar of reception to appear.

Mobile phones have moved from luxury status in the early days to being almost essential. 5G is approaching and, with it, the promise of all kinds of mobile connectivity.

But I come back to the opening question; why can't we keep 2G calls going?

  • For more on this, see the 26 May issue of New Electronics