Ofcom has published details of how the UK's mobile network operators fare when it comes to call quality.
According to Ofcom's research, during the second half of 2013, 97 percent of calls on EE were successfully connected, 95.3 percent on O2, 94.5 percent on Three, and 92.6 percent on Vodafone.
But there was significant differences in the proportion of calls connected successfully in urban and rural areas. For example, for Vodafone, while 95.3 percent of calls in urban areas connected, the figure dropped to a mere 79.9 percent in rural areas. On EE, 97.5 percent of urban calls connected compared to 93.7 percent of rural calls.
Ofcom's figures are based on RootMetrics data for the last six months of 2013.
Unsurprisingly consumer satisfaction with mobile networks also varies by location. While 78 percent of people in urban areas were satisfied with their mobile network, this dropped to 67 percent in rural regions where signal coverage can be more patchy and 70 percent in remote areas, Ofcom said.
The telecoms watchdog said this information is important in helping consumers choose a mobile service that suits their needs, and also helps promote competition between mobile operators on service quality.
Ofcom's own consumer research found that the majority of people said they never or hardly ever had a blocked call (69 percent) or dropped call (65 percent). However, one-fifth of people said they experienced blocked calls (20 percent) and dropped calls (22 percent) at least once a week, a proportion that increases in rural areas.
The regulator said all four mobile providers are now meeting the obligations for 3G coverage, while mobile operators have indicated they intend to match O2's 98 percent coverage obligation for 4G LTE. This will extend mobile broadband coverage into many areas still underserved by 3G.