The BBC is conducting a voluntary survey in order to find out just what exactly the nation’s 2G and 3G coverage looks like.

While carriers already provide their own coverage maps, the BBC would like to discover just how accurate the UK’s providers have been and how real-world mobile applications compare to what ‘should’ happen on paper.

Over the course of the next month the BBC will be taking volunteers in order to help boost their data pool. Measurements are made using an app developed by Epitiro that can currently be only downloaded on to Android handsets. Unfortunately there is no iPhone version of this app, as there is too much difficulty collecting accurate much data on iOS with a program that constantly runs in the background.

We’re unsure what kind of effect running an app like this will have on battery life, but there’s an easy way to find out. We definitely encourage as many people to take part in this survey as possible. The app is free and, if you find it kills to much battery life, you can simply delete it from your device whenever you wish. The more information the BBC is able to gather from this survey the more accurate their eventual findings will be.

An accurate coverage map of the UK will not only provide customers will invaluable information when choosing a mobile phone plan but could also spur some much needed competition to expand 3G coverage even further across the nation. After all, Ofcom estimates that in terms of land mass only 76% of the UK has 3G coverage; there’s always room for improvement.

For the official BBC 3G survey app search the Android Market for “uk3g”.

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