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An app which is providing data for a BBC survey into the UK's 3G coverage has notched up 33,000 downloads

The results will be collated and offered via a clickable map to give the first glimpse of what a 3G UK really looks like.

Veteran tweeter Stephen Fry has given the project his backing, encouraging "UK Androiders" to download it.

Epitiro, the data measurement firm that developed the app, said it had addressed concerns about battery drain.

"We have a new version of the app which doesn't test continually but for four hours at key points in the day. It stops testing if battery life drops below 30% but can test continually when a phone is being charged," said Iain Wood, a spokesman for Epitiro.

The app will provide data to show where the UK's 3G notspots are.

Coverage is one of the biggest issues for consumers, according to regulator Ofcom, and it is due to publish its own survey in coming weeks.

Some BBC readers were delighted that the issue of coverage was finally being addressed.

"Great idea! Have installed the app on my phone and will watch the results with interest," commented one.

Others pointed out that there were other apps doing a similar thing - such as OpenSignalMaps.com

Some expressed frustration that the app was only currently available for Android handsets.

"How many people in the highlands have Android phones? asked one annoyed reader.

HOW TO BE A PART OF THE UK MOBILE MAP

1) You will need an Android handset

2) Download the app  from Android Marketplace

3) Once downloaded, data will be collected without you having to do anything more

4) If you wish to see what coverage is like in a particular place, simply click on the app

5) The app is free to download

6) It uses very little bandwidth

7) The data is anonymised and neither Epitiro nor the BBC will collate or store any personal data

"Android users are tech savvy and will be working/living in an area with good reception. After all if they had poor reception they wouldn't buy a smartphone, Android or otherwise, in the first place," pointed out one reader.

Brendan Gill, co-founder of rival app opensignalmaps thinks the Epitiro app should also measure download speed.

"It only measures signal strength and that is a limited metric," he said.

Speed tests conducted by Epitiro on behalf of Ofcom found that O2 and Vodafone were the fastest UK operators, averaging between 2 and 3Mbit/s, compared to Orange which managed between 1Mbit/s and 1.5Mbit/s.

Story from the BBC

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