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Phones

Commuters face signal failure as calls and data fail on London trains

Ticket prices and a lack of seats aren't the only headache for commuters, who also have to contend with terrible phone signal on London's railways.

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OlegDoroshin/Shutterstock

I'm on the train. On the train. I'M ON THE TRAI -- oh you've gone.

We've all known the frustration of dropped calls or failed connections while journeying by rail, and new research suggest commuters on London's railways are particularly badly served.

US company Global Wireless Solutions used a range of Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones to test the phone signal on ten popular commuting routes into and out of London, and found almost a third of tasks that involve using data -- which could be as simple as opening a website or sending a photo -- fail when on an overground train. The results are then plotted on an interactive map.

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A map showing failures of 4G data on London's rail network. GWS

A quarter of the tasks using 3G never manage to send the data in question to their destination, and it's even worse when trying to connect to 4G. Meanwhile one in seven voice calls dropped during the tests.

Data is at its worst when trains are in stations, while calls were more likely to drop in between stops.

So how does your network fare? Three performs best for calls, but is the worst for 4G data. Vodafone is named the best in the test for 3G data, and EE the best for 4G.

That last one is only to be expected, seeing as EE has the most time to build a 4G network, having launched the faster LTE service a year ahead of the other networks. The other networks now have 4G services, but are still largely relying on 2G to connect calls when you're on the train.

And the worst station? St Pancras -- lovely building but shocking signal. Still, at least most of the major networks offer Wi-Fi on the tube.