Mobile phone calls are officially more reliable than ever

Phone call
(Image credit: Pixabay)

The quality of mobile phone calls in the UK is improving, according to testing firm RootMetrics, with lower dropout rates, greater reliability and faster connection times contributing to a superior experience for consumers.

Dropped calls have fallen from 1.4% in 2018 to 1%, while blocked calls have fallen from 4.3% to 1.7% over a similar period. In urban areas, where coverage is more widespread, these figures are even lower.

Meanwhile call set up times are now half as fast, taking an average of just 2.2 seconds. Testers attribute this rapidity to the widespread adoption of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology that transmits voice calls over a 4G connection.

Mobile phone calls

Nearly nine in ten calls (85%) in the UK are now transmitted using VoLTE and this more modern method is also enhancing reliability.

RootMetrics says the results are encouraging as more people ditch the landline in favour or a mobile phone and ahead of the UK’s migration from a copper based public switched telephone network (PSTN) to a modern Voice over IP (VoIP).

Digital voice services use a fibre network rather than a dedicated network of physical lines to serve customers. Because traffic is carried over the same network as broadband, cost, complexity, and energy consumption is lowered for providers, while customers benefit from higher quality voice calls and lower volumes of scam calls.

However, power outages in affected areas can mean anyone with an IP phone is unable to make or receive calls, and therefore contact emergency services. BT is working on developing hybrid devices that can access a mobile phone network in the event of an outage, while 999 calls are prioritised by all four mobile operators.

Enhanced reliability of mobile calls will therefore help inspire confidence in the new system.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.