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3G Quicker than 4G

2: Seeker
2: Seeker

Hello Vodafone, I currently have a complaint reference raised with this issue but can't help feeling i'm being fobbed off with technical jargon so i'm hoping you can help on here. 


I've been with Vodafone for 10+ years and have home broadband as well as mobile. I have always spoken highly of the network until now which is why I feel particularly disappointed.


I signed a new sim-only contract at beginning of this year with 80GB data allowance. Since then i've noticed mobile signal has been terrible with calls dropping out frequently, despite signal showing as nearly maximum on 4G. I didn't notice it immediately as I hadn't been leaving the house much, but then when the home broadband was down, I realized how bad it had become. 


We moved into this current house and new area August 2020. Prior to then we had both Vodafone services with never any issue. When we moved in here, the home broadband seemed to go through all sorts of issues despite it being a new street. I'm highlighting this as it demonstrates the mobile signal was ok then, as I was able to tether to work. 


Just after Christmas 2020 is when I signed the new contract. When I first noticed issues, I thought it was just temporary or weather or something, but my partner and daughter had both recently signed up to Vodafone (on my recommendation!) and they all reported call drops and slow mobile internet. 


I started contacting Vodafone support back in January to ask them to check my account as I had read some unlimited data contracts restricted download speeds. After getting passed between customer services, sales and technical, with me questioning if there were any restrictions on my account and me wondering if I had been mis-sold, eventually someone confirmed I wasn't on an unlimited data package, just on a very large one with no restrictions, therefore with 4G speeds should be high.


Over the next couple of months with several exchanges with Tobi, various network settings were changed and reset. Network settings checked, reset, sim card cleaned and reinstalled, multiple reboots etc etc. All to no avail. I started performing download speed tests and despite 4G signal showing almost full, download speed was regularly only 1.5Mbps with upload sometimes less, but other times twice as fast. Another symptom of this issue is the call dropping. Audio with another caller doesn't just crackle or become disrupted, I can hear the other caller loud and clear, but they report my voice just goes completely silent. The fact i can hear them crystal clear and there is no deterioration makes me believe this is a technical issue also, not just poor signal. My partner and her daughter experience exactly the same which is awful when it is important phone calls. 


I was out walking recently and found I couldn't stream and listen to music, which proved the issue was in the whole area not just my house. After doing some research I found where I walked was covered by different cells but same mast. I contacted support again and reported my findings. After telling me yet again there was no issue with the mast, I explained I was stood in line of sight with the mast and still only reaching 1.7Mbps download speed. That is when complaint reference 1-1628567119710 was raised. Trouble is I have contacted support several times now to be told the issue is still being worked on but no information as to what the issue is or how long it will take. 


A further update to the issue which baffles me: Just out of interest, i switched the setting to 2G/3G only, and not to use 4G, then ran another set of download tests over several minutes. On average my download speed on 3G is now 14Mbps whilst sat in my house on mobile network. Again this proves there to be an issue with 4G signal. 


To complete the form:


1) Does the issue happen in just one location? If so, how far do you have to travel to regain service?


Home and surrounding area is where it is noticed most which is Heanor, Derbyshire. Other areas still seem low for 4G. Derby city center was 7Mps on 4G. Beeston in Nottingham was 18Mps on 4G.


2) What is the full postcode 

DE75 7WD


3) Does the issue occur if you try your SIM card in a different phone?

 I don't have another phone to try but other family members have same issue using their phones on Vodafone.


4) What errors are seen or heard when the issue occurs?

Speed tests show very low download figures. Calls drop frequently but in a strange way. 


5) Does this happen on 2G, 3G, 4G or all?

    Seems it only happens on 4G after switching to 2G/3G only.


6) When did you first notice this issue?

 January 2021


7) Is the issue permanent or intermittent? If intermittent, are there certain times of the day when it occurs?



Further information - all 3 of us have the same make model of mobile phone - Huawei P20/pro


Please can you help Vodafone as I feel i'm paying for 4G service and not getting it. 


Moderator (Retired)
Moderator (Retired)

I'm really sorry to hear about the 4G issues you've been having in your area @Toastie123.  However, as with all radio-based systems, service may also be affected by a number of local factors which are outside our control. This could include things like changing phones as some devices pick up mobile reception better than others. 

We'd like to help you check that the settings on your phone are set up as they should be first, you can find the exact instructions for your phone right here, please give this a go and let us know how you get on 👍



Sorry but this set up procedure has already been tried. 


I understand radio waves can be affected by several factors, but all in different locations within the mast cells? When also in line-of-site with the mast? Across 3 different handsets?


What i really can not understand is how 3G is, not just a little bit better, but up to x16 times better than 4G ! This seems as good as and if not better than any signal i remember getting in the old days before 4G was launched therefore it says the signal quality is actually very good and outside factors aren't affecting the radio waves between mast and handset..


This brings me back to the original question - why would 3G signal be so good, and 4G be almost unusable? and why doesn't the handset revert to 3G if the signal is so much better? Why is it up to me to turn 4G off?


This is why i still believe there is a fault with the broadcast of 4G and why I feel am paying for a service i'm not receiving.

Moderator (Retired)
Moderator (Retired)

If the settings are up to date and you're still experiencing issues, I'd recommend that you reach out to our team over on social media, so we can investigate further. This will also help if we need to escalate things to our network engineers. We will need to run through some other troubleshooting steps to find out if this would be necessary though 👍 

2: Seeker
2: Seeker

I’ve just been Googling for this problem too in Heanor.  I have the same postcode as you strangely.  I’m new to Vodafone and have all the same data issues as you, too soon to know about lost voice calls.


I have been through all the same fault finding online with Vodafone and am due a new SIM tomorrow I expect.  My partner is also on Vodafone and has the same issues, so I don’t see that a new SIM will change anything.  When I’m at work in Derby I see download speeds of 60Mbit/s+.

I have also seen 3G better than 4G.  I’ve also notice if I test in the middle of the night usually speed is much better.  So could this be mast congestion?


Happy to discuss further if you want.



I should have added to this, that I have driven out to where I believe the 3 local masts to be and repeated the speed tests.  I get circa 5Mbit/s in all 3 locations.

I use an iPhone 11 and my partner an iPhone 12.

Moderator (Retired)
Moderator (Retired)

Hey there @marc_r_c - I understand how important it is to have a stable connection, especially now. So that we can look further into the network issues that you're having, could you complete our initial network checks please?

Hi Evie


Thanks for your advice, I’ve already done all of these things numerous times whilst using your online chat system.


So we have 3 phones in my household all with this issue, all on Vodafone. The  original poster also has 3 different model phones with this issue.


I’ve even driven closer to the masts in my area and seen little improvement in speed.


As it stands the service is not fit for my purpose and I’d like to formally raise a complaint - could you confirm the process?

Could you also confirm the cooling off process and whether I am able to port my number to another network?

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hey @marc_r_c I'm sorry to hear you feel the need to raise a complaint about your network, you can find more information on doing this via our Code of Practice

With regards to our cooling off period, this is 14 days, the same as many other mobile providers. You can of course port your number away from us at any time. However, if this is outside your 14 day cooling off period and before your commitment end date, this will be subject to an early termination fee.

We'd be happy to take a look into the issues you're currently experiencing and if necessary raise this with our Engineers. The first step in our investigation would require you providing the information Evie requested. Once we've got this, we can get the ball rolling.

So Vodafone, as you can see another unhappy customer from the same area.


It's now been exactly 3 months since I first raised this issue on here. In that time I still have not received any update on the complaint or fault reference despite being told i would. 


I have been monitoring the signal situation and if anything it has got worse. Using 3G only now has the same poor delivery as 4G. Only this lunchtime I stood within 100 yards of the mast, clear line of sight, and I measured 5mbit/s download and 7mbit/s upload. When I tried streaming music it constantly stuttered and cut out. Having spoken to several people with more knowledge on mobile signal than me, (including a former Vodafone engineer) they all tell me they suspect the bandwidth in this area is not sufficient. In other words the mast and cell is saturated with too many users. 


There are several factors that make this seem credible:

1) When performing speed tests, the upload speed is often quicker than the download.

2) Things improved a little on average once more people were back at school/work

3) Signal improves after 10pm to the extent i can actually stream music from Amazon.


Although you may claim the number of people all online at the same time is not your fault, signing me to a service based on signal strength alone is mis-selling. Although you claim I can receive 4G, 3G and even 5G, as i am finding none of them are actually usable for services I use. I suspect if I request cancellation to my contract, you will inform me there is a fee for early termination. 


Please advise on my rights regarding contract termination based on paying for a service i am not receiving. Please note, this is not someone who has changed their mind and is trying to wriggle out of paying. I have been a loyal customer for over 12 years and also have home broadband and if I was receiving what I'm paying for I would happily remain a customer.


In the meantime I will start seeking advice from Trading Standards and continue to let others in the area know my situation and convince them to not use Vodafone's services.