Mobile phone coverage has never been so important. We explain how to check signal strength when you’re viewing a new home and how to improve reception.
Coverage is patchy if you want to use the very latest and fastest 4G network as this network is still only found in a few towns and cities. Move out to the country and you’re looking at 3G reception. The good news is that most areas have reasonable reception on the 2G network, which is fine for voice calls and text messages.
There is also variation between different mobile phone networks. Parts of Haywards Heath only have good coverage outdoors on the 3 network and there are areas of poor reception for Virgin Mobile around Colgate.
How can find Mobile coverage in an area?
All of the mobile phone providers have maps on their websites that you can use to check for signal strength in an area. You can find them via the Ofcom website.
Is that enough or should I check for myself?
The coverage maps are not perfect (as you’ll learn if you read the small print) and there will be variations for individual houses, so you should check for signal when you view a house. Look at the signal bars on your phone when looking round a house and try to make a call or check your email to make sure. If you can do so discreetly it’s worth trying in more than one room as the number of walls between your phone and the mobile phone mast will make a difference.
Is there any way to check before arriving?
There is a website and mobile app called Rootmetrics (for iPhone and Android) that can give you information about an area before you arrive. The app tests the reception where you are and that information is shared back to the Rootmetrics site for other people to use. It gives more detailed information than relying on the signal bars on the phone.
Can I improve my signal at home?
There’s no need to despair if you discover that your house had poor reception because many networks will sell you a booster device. This plugs into your broadband router and uses this connection to make your calls. It can be frustrating to be paying twice for a connection but it’s better than not being able to make a call. Don’t be tempted to buy these devices from sites like eBay as they may not be legal.