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More accurate 4G/5G coverage maps for 3, Eir and Vodafone
#1
The mobile coverage maps provided by mobile operators are basically computer generated based on map data such as an ordinance survey map.  As objects such as buildings, trees, fences, etc. are not taken into account, the actual coverage is unsurprisingly very different to what the maps report. 

The best way to produce a coverage map is by collecting actual signal readings.  This is exactly what the speed test providers Ookla and nPerf have been doing.  By using either App, it collects the signal and the data connection type (3G, 4G, 5G, etc.) at the user's location. Both Apps can also record signal information in the background, such as while driving, on public transport, etc.  

To view the coverage maps:

Ookla:  Launch the Ookla Speedtest App, then touch the Map icon at the bottom right.  Swipe up the coloured icon menu to choose between Best (best coverage recorded) and Most Common (what to typically expecct).  Here you can also choose which network to view coverage maps for.

nPerf: Go into the top left menu, then touch Coverage & speed maps.  Select the mobile operator from the bottom.  Its coverage maps are also available on its website nperf.com by going into Network Coverage menu.

Spot the difference - Three's official 5G coverage map vs Ookla (blue = 5G, "Best" selected): Big Grin

       

With Ookla's speed test being one of the most popular Apps for testing mobile speed, it likely has surveyed most of the roads and premises across Ireland.  So there's no doubt that its coverage map is a more accurate representation of actual coverage, unlike the official coverage map.

The nPerf App shows coverage at the street level.  Unlike Ookla, nPerf distinguishes between 4G and 4G+ coverage.  This is particularly useful when choosing mobile broadband as nearly all 4G-only coverage (shown in Orange) operates on the 800MHz band, which suffers from congestion and interference in many areas.   

It's also surprising just how different the coverage is between 3, Eir and Vodafone, particularly in Letterkenny:

           

As 5G requires is only available on certain bill pay plans with Eir and Vodafone and requires an add-on with Three, many 5G areas are not recorded with one provider or the other, particularly outside main routes. I recommend checking both Apps when checking 5G coverage. At least where either App shows 5G coverage, this means that someone has picked up actual 5G coverage there, unlike the mobile operator's maps.
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#2
That's interesting Sean.
I presume the black in Ookla is no data collected?
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#3
Black appears to indicate no information collected.  For example, most uninhabited area such as forestry, bogland, etc. is shown in black.

The following is a better example of why not to trust the network operator maps.  When I was with Eir mobile a few years ago, I complained about having no signal in Carrick.  Eir insisted that there is great coverage there and that there just must be a temporary outage, problem with my phone, etc. 

When I was in Carrick recently, I did a network search and just Vodafone listed (no 3 coverage either), unsurprising given that Eir continues to assume Carrick is well covered. 

Anyway, here's Eir's official coverage map vs Ookla's with "Most common" selected:

       

There's not even outdoor 2G/3G coverage to make a phone call with Eir at that blue bus stop icon, never mind 4G coverage!
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#4
They are obviously going to stick with their own maps, they look much better  Big Grin
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