A report from mobile network performance specialist RootMetrics examines the past five years of call advancements.
The UK is set to bid farewell to copper landlines and upgrade to a fully digital call network. RootMetrics’ report highlights some of the advancements over the past five years that have made this switch viable.
By 2025, the UK intends to switch off its copper landline network in favour of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). As with any transition, there are concerns that some people – especially the elderly – may be left behind.
An increasing number of broadband providers now offer VoIP services as part of their packages—enabling customers to plug their traditional landline phones into their routers instead of the copper phone line. However, more providers need to help customers make the digital switch to ensure that no-one gets left behind.
While fixed phones are likely to remain in most offices, many households are now going mobile-only. There’s some concern that relying on mobile – especially in more rural locations – could hamper the ability to make emergency calls.
RootMetrics found that all mobile operators prioritise emergency service calls and will automatically roam to the operator with the best coverage in that area. While that won’t completely eliminate the concerns, it certainly helps to alleviate them.
In terms of general mobile call performance, RootMetrics’s report highlights significant advancements over the past five years.
Dropped calls were already low (1.4%) in 1H 2018. However, the highest rate of dropped calls RootMetrics recorded during UK-wide testing in 2H 2021 was just one percent.
The rate of blocked calls – where an outgoing call is unable to connect – saw an even greater improvement. In RootMetrics’ testing, blocked calls fell from 4.3 percent in 2017 to just 1.7 percent in 2021.
In major cities, both dropped and blocked call rates are now just 0.6 percent.
VoLTE has introduced major improvements to the mobile calling experience. Call setup times now take just 2.2 seconds on average compared to 4.9 seconds five years ago.
In 1H 2018, RootMetrics’ testing found VoLTE adoption was just 55.7 percent. In 2019, the company says it began exceeding 85 percent and call setup times remained below 2.8 seconds. VoLTE is now “nearly ubiquitous” across the UK for all four major operators.
The results from RootMetrics’ report suggest that the UK is – with a little help from ISPs to switch copper landline users to VoIP – on track to upgrade to a fully digital call network by 2025.
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