Mobile Phone Coverage – Guide to checking 3G and 4G mobile coverage in your area

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How do I check mobile phone coverage in my area?

Mobile coverage varies widely in the UK.  Only 66% of the land area in the UK has 2G coverage from all mobile network operators (only 13% for 3G!) and the roll out of 4G is concentrated in a few larger cities, so it’s vital to check the network overage in your area before you buy. Each mobile operator offers access to a mobile network coverage checker on their website. By simply typing in your home or work postcode you can find out how strong each network’s coverage is in your area.

Click on the buttons below to go directly to the mobile coverage checker for each network.

(Please note: Orange and T-Mobile have now merged under the EE brand!)

  Three  99.5% 2G Coverage* 99% 3G Coverage* 4G launched late 2013 Check your coverage
  Vodafone  99.7% 2G Coverage* 80%+ 3G Coverage* 4G launched Aug 2013 Check your coverage
 EE mobile coverage
EE  99% 2G Coverage* 93% 3G Coverage* 93% 3G Coverage*
Check your coverage
NB: On 13th March 2014, EE was named as the number one mobile network in the UK following independent testing from RootMetrics.

O2 Mobile Coverage

O2  99.5% 2G Coverage* 80%+ 3G Coverage* 4G launched Aug 2013 Check your coverage
 new-virgin-mobile-logo-100x100  Virgin Mobile  99% 2G Coverage* 93% 3G Coverage* N/A Check your coverage

*Outdoor Coverage of UK Population

Looking for a different mobile network?  Check out our list of the other mobile phone networks.

Instructions for using the mobile phone coverage checkers

The networks don’t make it easy for us!  Here are some basic instructions for using the mobile phone networks coverage checkers and also read our top tips for checking mobile coverage.

Three mobile coverage checker Three Mobile Coverage Map

  1. Click on the blue ‘check your coverage’ button above.
  2. Enter a postcode or place in the text box above the map and hit enter or tap on the green icon button on the end of the box.
  3. You will then see a map of the place you entered with three different colours showing Three’s 3G coverage.
  4. White means no coverage at all, purple means 3G coverage is really good even indoors and turquoise means good coverage outdoors but not necessarily indoors.  Please note that this is just a guide and true indoor coverage will vary from building to building, room to room.
  5. The Advanced 3G option lets you see the coverage for Three’s faster (DC-HSDPA technology) 3G service in your area.

Three plan to launch 4G late in 2013 and will be sharing the EE (Orange and T-Mobile) 4G network.

Check your coverage

Vodafone mobile coverage Vodafone Mobile Coverage Map

  1. Click on the blue ‘check your coverage’ button above.
  2. Enter your postcode or place name in the text box in the middle of the page on the left and click the ‘Search’ button.
  3. A map showing 2G mobile coverage in your area appears with three different colours showing the strength of signal
  4. Purple means good coverage indoors and outdoors.
  5. Grey means good coverage outdoors but limited coverage indoors.
  6. Red means limited coverage.
  7. You can then switch between  3G and 4G coverage by clicking on the options on the top right of the map.
  8. You can click and drag the pin on the map to your exact location – but I’m not sure why this is useful!

Check your coverage

EE mobile coverage EE Mobile Coverage Map

Orange and T-Mobile have now merged their networks and are also marketing their 4G services under the EE (Everything Everywhere) brand – confusing I know!

  1. Click on the blue ‘check your coverage’ button above.
  2. Enter a postcode or place name in the yellow box then click on the ‘Search Now’ button.
  3. You’ll see a map appear with different colours used to denote whether you get 2G, 3G or 4G coverage.
  4. Pink means 2G coverage only.
  5. Mauve/purple means 3G coverage is available.
  6. Turquoise means you can get 4G.
  7. You can then choose to look at a more detailed map overlay of the exact coverage for 2G, 3G or 4G in your area by clicking the ‘Our Coverage’, ‘Superfast Internet’, ‘Calls and Internet’ and ‘Calls and Text’ panels underneath the postcode box.

This tool is a little more complicated to understand than some of the other coverage checkers so spend a little time making sure that you thoroughly check and understand the results you get.

Check your coverage

O2 mobile coverage O2 Mobile Coverage Map

  1. Click on the blue ‘check your coverage’ button above.
  2. Enter your postcode or place name in the big search box and click the blue button.
  3. The map shows 2G coverage by default and you can select to view 3G or 4G coverage on the left of the map.
  4. Three colours are used to show the quality of mobile coverage.
  5. Blue means great coverage indoors and outdoors.
  6. Beige means good coverage outdoors only.
  7. White means no coverage.
  8. You can add multiple places and switch between their coverage maps. The different searches will be listed in blue on the left of the page.
  9. A check box at the bottom of the map let you view where the mobile masts are located.

Check your coverage

Virgin Mobile mobile coverageVirgin Mobile Coverage Map

  1. Click on the blue ‘check your coverage’ button above.
  2. Enter a postcode or place name then click on ‘Search’.
  3. You’ll see a map appear with darker shades of red to show better, faster coverage.
  4. There are tools on the right to let you check coverage for different services such as mobile broadband.

Check your coverage

Top tips for checking your mobile coverage:

  1. Check the coverage checkers above to see what quality coverage the networks claim for your home and workplace.
  2. Check with your friends and neighbours to see which mobile network’s give them good coverage in your area.
  3. The ultimate test for your mobile network coverage would be to test a phone in your house.  You could hold a mobile network coverage party, inviting one friend per mobile network round for a few drinks and crisps!
  4. Get a SIM Only deal on a 30 day contract to road test the coverage with a different network.  Compare the cheapest SIM Only deals and read our SIM Only FAQs. You can even get special Blackberry SIM Only and iPhone SIM Only deals now.
  5. Alternatively why not buy PAYG SIMs for your preferred networks and test £5 worth of calls in the locations where you will use your mobile phone the most – home and work (you presumably have a couple of deals in mind!)
  6. Don’t forget that different phones have different strengths of reception so buy online and use the distance selling act to cancel your contract and return your phone within 7 days if the coverage is not good enough.
  7. Thinking of buying on iPad on Contract? Good 3G or 4G coverage is vital so make sure you check your coverage upfront.

Use Free SIMs to check coverage!

All the mobile operators offer free SIMs.  This is the perfect way to test the real mobile network coverage you would get by switching operators.

Why not take advantage of this to test the coverage in your area with?

Quick Links to Mobile Coverage Checkers

Three Phone Coverage

EE Phone Coverage

Vodafone Phone Coverage

O2 Phone Coverage

Virgin Mobile Phone Coverage

3 mobile phone coverage ee-logo Vodafone mobile phone coverage O2 mobile phone coverage Virgin Media's mobile phone coverage
Check coverage Check coverage Check coverage Check coverage Check coverage

Other Mobile Phone Networks

A number of smaller mobile phone networks, known as MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) exist who aren’t listed above. They all use one of the mobile phone networks above to deliver their services. Here are a few of the better known mobile companies and the network they use to provide their services.

Mobile Virtual Network Operator Network Provider
Lebara Mobile Vodafone
Talk Mobile Vodafone
Tesco Mobile O2
Asda Mobile Vodafone
Giff Gaff O2
Family Mobile T-Mobile

You can use the network provider’s coverage checkers (mentioned above) to check mobile coverage for these virtual networks.

Is 3G mobile broadband coverage the same as mobile phone coverage?

Coverage for mobile phone calls and texts relies on so called 1G and 2G networks, whilst most mobile internet services such as mobile broadband and browsing the internet on your phone relies on the faster 3G networks.  Because 3G is a newer, more complex technology it is harder, more expensive and technically more difficult to build good coverage.  For this reason 3G mobile broadband coverage is different to mobile phone coverage so you should check both individually before buying.  For instance, having good coverage for calls and texts in your home doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have good enough coverage for mobile broadband.

T-Mobile and Orange Merger – Everything Everywhere

As part of the T-Mobile and Orange merger, on October 5th 2013 Orange and T-Mobile enabled their customers to access both mobile networks. This free benefit means you if you lose signal with your main network you’ll be able to get a signal from the other network if it’s available.

Last updated: 30 March 2014

Mobile Phone Coverage - Guide to checking 3G and 4G mobile coverage in your area, 3.9 out of 5 based on 36 ratings

117 thoughts on “Mobile Phone Coverage – Guide to checking 3G and 4G mobile coverage in your area”

  1. How can I get coverage if I’m already stuck in a Vodafone Contract? I have just moved into an apartment. I can get only 3 bars (of 5 bars max) on my Sony Erikson Xperia X1 outside the building front and back, but I can’t get anything inside. It’s so annoying having to go outside to make calls!

    I have read about a “fake” placebo circuit board which I place on the battery, I’m not going to give that the time of day.

    Is a mobile repeater any good? It’s expensive at around £200.00, and I’ll have to install it myself by climbing onto the roof with an external ariel…. Is there a cheaper, more convenient method to boost reception?

    1. Definitely don’t play around with sticking things inside the device itself as you may break your lovely X1 and invalidate the warranty at the same time! Double jeopardy…

      I’ve not tested a repeater myself but I know the operators recommend them and I can’t really think of an alternative I’m afraid. Have you called Vodafone to explain the situation? I’m assuming they are the ones who suggested the repeater. Either way, make sure you get one that’s Vodafone compatible as the operators operate on different frequencies.

      There are repeater’s on sale for as little as £99 on ebay…

      Click here to see the latest repeater deals on ebay

  2. Hi – do you know what the accessibility to networks is like across the UK supermarket network? I’ve noticed that i’m unable to get coverage in my local Sainsburys – is this a common problem, and are certain networks better than others?


    1. Great question Simon!

      I’ve noticed this myself with various networks and big stores, Ikea being one of the worst. I’m no engineer but I understand that the signal drops because the deeper you are inside a building, surrounded by metal shelving, huge freezers and air con units, the harder it is for your mobile to keep hold of the operators signal.

      Because the operators place their base stations or mobile phone masts in different places you may find that one network performs slightly better in your local supermarket than another network but I don’t believe it’s possible to say x network is better than y network for all supermarkets. You could test the postcode for your local Sainsburys with the coverage checkers (click on the logos above to go directly to them) to see if it happens to be in a blackspot for a particular network.

      If anything, some phones perform better than others when you’re deep inside a buidling. Sometimes the simpler phones are better, whilst phones like the iPhone seem to have a slightly weaker signal. But that’s based on anecdotal evidence.

  3. I wont to buy the htc touch hd , but i dont know which network is the best for this phone , which network has the best 3g also phone network coverage in london uk ?

    1. Hi Tallers

      The HTC Touch HD is available on O2, Vodafone and Orange. All of these operators have pretty good coverage in London, what’s most important is the coverage in the places you will use the phone most often – your home and place of work/study. I recommend checking coverage for your home and work postcode with each network so see which has the best coverage for you. Just click on the logos above to go directly to each network’s coverage checker.

      Oh, and don’t forget to make sure the tariff you sign up for either includes a large amount of data download or you buy a suitable tariff ‘add on’.

  4. I live on the east coast in Lincolnshire near skegness and struggle with a good 3 signal, which is the best network for this area.

    1. Hi Mark

      Coverage varies from town to town, street to street. Vodafone and O2 may have slightly stronger coverage for calls because their voice and text networks operate on a frequency that travels further than that of Orange and T-Mobile. 3G coverage for internet browsing and downloading emails is completely different again, depending on lots more mobile phone masts than the old 2G networks to provide coverage.

      It’s worth clicking on the links above to test a few postcodes and to check the mobile operators coverage maps which are located nearby. Also ask your friends in Skegness about how good the coverage is with their operator as this is the best real life test.

      Anyone from Lincolnshire got any views on mobile phone coverage in your area?

  5. Hi
    im moving to the channel islands and am just wondering if any, what coverage there is on the islands for both phone and internet??

  6. Hi. I want to upgrade to a BlackBerry Bold. Vodafone offering a great deal; H3G offering a very good deal also, but T-Mobile (my current provider) offering slightly more expensive deal. When I contacted T-Mobile and told them about the other two deals, they said that those providers’ network coverage may not be as good and that is why they offer better deals.

    Has anyone heard this before – do you agree with the comment T-Mobile made? I’ve looked at the network coverage checkers and I can’t tell any difference in coverage in my area. I live in North Surrey and work in London, so generally quite well populated etc.

    1. Hi Eve

      The T-Mobile guy is stretching the truth in my opinion. 3 and T-Mobile actually have a deal in place to share 3G masts so their 3G coverage will be very similar. However 3’s coverage for voice calls has been criticised in the past, in fact their CEO admitted in to a room full of bloggers (including me) that their call quality isn’t up to scratch only a year ago.

      Vodafone have been recognised as having the best quality network in certain surveys and tests. I’d expect their coverage to be stronger than T-Mobile due to the frequency or wavelength they use for voice calls. Either way London and Surrey are probably have the best coverage in the UK by all networks!

      Coverage will not affect the deals on offer. The truth, according to my industry insider friends is that T-Mobile don’t have the budget for strong offers at the moment so they may be less competitive when it comes to expensive phones like the Bold.

      Out of 3 and Vodafone I’d say Vodafone is the safer bet if you’re going for a Blackberry Bold, but that’s just my opinion!

  7. Thank you for your thoughts on this. I’ve been with T-Mobile for 13 years now and so changing provider is a big step for me (I’m one of those silly customers that pays over the odds because I hate changing!!!).

    I was leaning more towards the Vodafone deal. I like the idea of the T-M flext, but based on my current usage (very low) I should be fine with the Vodafone deal. The only drawback is that it’s for 24 months. Max I previously went for is 18 months, but in reality, I tend not to change my phone within two years anyway, so need to be sensible about this.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. No problem. That’s what this site is all about.

      Be sure to check out Vodafone’s 18 month deals too. 24 months is a long time for a phone to last. The deal in the link below is £35 a month for 18 months with 200 mins and 1000 texts. £5 more and you get 600 mins.

  8. They say that 99.4% of the UK has mobile phone coverage and I can tell you how galling it is to be part of the 0.6% not covered by any network, nor are any of the networks planning to give us mobile coverage. Downderry is a seaside village only 11 miles from Plymouth but you have to wait for low tide and walk to the waters edge to get a weak signal.

    1. me too am having a nitemare trying to get coverage, :( finding its an ‘odd’ spot or rural area, except stuck in contract an paying for something i get on n off :(
      an defintely dont use the 600 mins i am spose to get :(

  9. can any 1 help me please iv looked on all th network providers pages and tested my coverage and they all say its good but when i change my network i dont seem to get a signal on any networks unless i walk a good 5 mins untill i get a signal can some 1 help pleasee

    1. There are a few blackspots even in good coverage areas I’m afraid. Buildings and hills can block reception in certain places. Do friends have the sames problem when at your house? It may be a cheap way to test multiple networks – have a mobile coverage party! :)

      Alternatively it may be possible to install a booster aerial to your home that can give you better/some coverage at home. Which networks have you tried so far?

  10. Dear GadgetStylist,

    not sure if this falls into “mobile phone coverage” remit but . . my girlfriend brought a dongle on 3 through a retailer. Took it home, tried it but the coverage doesn’t is appalling. She phoned 3 to complain about the coverage but they said she brought it through a reseller so ultimately they have no responsibility! She is now tied into an 18 month contract for something she can’t use! Is there anything she can do. Her 14 day cooling off period is over.

    1. Hi Bappylicious

      It’s an easy trap to fall into. That’s why it’s so important to check your mobile phone coverage before you buy.

      I would definitely continue complaining to 3 and write the CEO, Kevin Russell, as ultimately it’s 3’s responsibility to ensure their coverage is great. She may be able to downgrade the contract after 6 months to save a little cash, but I haven’t checked 3’s terms on this. Also try the store again and see if they will swap for another network. They should have checked her coverage before selling it to her.

      Last resort she could sell the contract on ebay and cut some of her losses.

  11. Hi
    As I travel a lot and most of the coverage checkers ask for your local post code I cannot really find anything which tells me which network is best for me. I travel mostly across the southwest and do understand that not all networks are available everywhere. But can you tell me which network has the best coverage generally in the UK and particularly in the south west. I use mostly voice and text. Not too fussed about 3G yet. Thanks and greatly appreciate what you do.

  12. Hi Clive
    That’s a really tough question to answer. I remember many moons ago I came across some information that suggested Orange had a high customer base in the South West because the used to have stronger reception in the area. This was a long time ago tho and all the networks should now have better reception in the South West.

    On purely technological grounds O2 and Vodafone use GSM900 waveband (as opposed to Orange and T-Mobile’s GSM1800) which means that their signal travels further and needs less mobile phone basestations in order to cover an area. This would suggest that either Vodafone or O2 could be a better option, especially if you are on the phone whilst driving around (safely of course!) as your mobile will have to ‘hand over’ between ‘cells’ or basestations as much.

    NB: Virgin uses T-Mobile’s network. 3 now uses Orange’s 2G network and has a deal to share T-Mobile’s 3G network.

    My pragmatic advice however is the following:
    – Get hold of PAYG SIM Cards for the networks you haven’t already tried and test them out for a week each. The cards should be free and you could just test the minimum top-up and make some calls form different locations.
    – Ask your friends and business contacts which network they are on and how they find the coverage.
    – Coverage is partially down to the performance of the phone itself. Ask around for recommendations of phones with good coverage. Sometimes the simpler phones do a better job. You can switch the 3G functions off in most phones, which will reduce coverage problems as the phone isn’t trying to manage the handover between 3G coverage and 2G coverage on top of everything else.

    Phew. I hope that helps a bit!

  13. Hi, i’m moving to tring, herts uk in september, and noticed when i visited that there was no orange coverage, im looking for a network that will cover internet and calls and texts possibly o2? I cant seem to grasp the coverage checkers… any help i would be grateful for!


    1. Hi Emily

      Wow you guys are all keeping me busy! :) I agree that the coverage checkers aren’t the most user friendly things in the world. For Vodafone and O2 you have to select the Place name or town and city from the drop down menus and then type in Tring in the text box. Vodafone then offers you a list of places -Tring is in there somewhere.

      The O2 checker is very slow – be patient!

      T-Mobile is a bit more straightforward but you have to click a very subtley shaded tab to get 3G coverage.

      NB: Virgin Mobile coverage will be the same as T-Mobile and 3 the same as Orange for 2G and T-Mobile for 3G as they share these networks (confusing I know!).

      From the maps it suggests that O2 and T-Mobile have the best 2G and 3G for Tring. 2G is good enough for calls and texts. Decent internet browsing requires 3G. Vodafone reception seems to be 2G only in Tring itself – shocking!

      Please don’t just take my word for it as you’ll be the one signing up for 18 months. Double check the O2 and T-Mobile coverage, particularly if you have a postcode for where you plan to live or work in order to get a more accurate result.

      Good luck with your move!

      The GadgetStylist

  14. Emily, you inspired me to add some instructions for the coverage checkers!

    If you get chance please check out the instructions I’ve added just beneath the links to the coverage checkers and let me know if this helps.

    Bed time for The ‘Coverage’Stylist!

  15. I’m planning to buy a Nokia E71 to buy for use around the country, for internet. email, voice and text. I’ll be mainly in rural areas, sometimes quite remote. Maybe even in a tent in the middle of nowhere! I’ve read various things about rural network coverage; some say Orange is best, others Vodaphone, but the coverage maps use such different info that making direct comparisons for the whole of rural UK is very difficult and confusing. My quandary is this – I’m loathe to go with Vodaphone as I found myself stuck in an 18-month contact with no coverage and they refused point-blank to help in any way shape or form. 3 seems to have the best deal on the E71 and the best tariff deal, but is its shared 3/Orange coverage likely to deliver what I’m after?

  16. These questions get more and more tough! So, first of all 3 admit that their 2G call quality isn’t great, regardless of which network they are partnering with, not to mention their 2G and 3G mobile coverage is split between Orange and T-Mobile. If pan-UK rural coverage is critical to you I would not risk going with 3.

    Vodafone and O2 arguably have better coverage due to the larger footprint for their 2G cell masts, but this will again vary widely across the country.

    Here’s a slightly different suggestion. You could buy the E71 upfront for about £250 (maybe less on eBay) then sign up to a SIM Only deal for as little as £15 a month. You only have to give 30 days notice on SIM Only tariffs – no 18 month minimum term – so if the coverage for your chosen network is disappointing you can easily switch and keep switching networks until you find the one that is ideal. Although you will have to stump up £250 for the phone you’ll be saving between £15 and £20 a month on the tariff cost so over the 18 month period you’ll be no worse off.

    A final suggestion would be to sign up with one network but keep a couple of PAYG SIMs handy as a back-up.

    Let me know which option you go with!

    The Coverage Stylist

  17. I bought a new phone on 24 month Organge contact. Signal wasn’t great in or outside my apartment on Portobello Road, but I stuck with it. For last 4-5 weeks I can’t make or receive calls at all either inside or outside my apartment. The signal drops even when I’m away from my apartment. Some days it even takes an hour or two to send a text from my apartment. The Orange coverage checker says that I should have an excellent signal, but when I called Orange customer support they said there was no mast in the area. So are they lying about excellent coverage. The person I spoke to at Orange said I would get better coverage 3 miles west. That is ridiculous. If the reception is better 3 miles west, how come they claim excellent coverage in my postcode area when they don’t even have a mast here? Any ideas? They are refusing to terminated my contact, but I’m thinking of taking legal action or maybe getting a consumer magazine interested in my story. Do you have any suggestions?

  18. Hi Manfred

    That is a really strange situation. I used to live next to Portobello Road and had good coverage with Orange (except when Carnival was on!). Perhaps a phone mast had to be removed recently due to protest from the local residents and so mobile coverage has declined? That may explain the coverage checker being incorrect perhaps out of date rather than plain wrong. I also think the customer support were incorrect when they said good covereage was 3 miles away. That would mean that half of West London has poor Orange coverage – which clearly isn’t the case!!

    If Orange have told you they cannot give you coverage at your home address and won’t do anything about it you should definitely take this further. I would advise either contacting the telecoms ombudsman – Otelo. I expect this may take a long time to get a result. In the meantime contacting the newspaper consumer affairs experts or someone like uSwitch who love a consumer story to champion may speed things along. Maybe try Watchdog the TV programme too. The negative publicity route will be the quickest option but it is a challenge to get a journalist interested enough to take up your cause.

    Also try writing to Tom Alexander the Orange UK CEO as this will get your complaint forwarded straight to the top level customer services team. You could even email him directly by guessing his email address. I did this with BT and their then CEO emailed me back from his Blackberry minutes later. My issue was sorted very quickly after that. Be polite though!

    Good luck and let us know which method works best!

  19. Up until August 10th I had no trouble with Virgin signal. Now both our mobiles are useless. Can’t get anywhere with Virgin, and I have just added 20 quid as well. The operator sounds as if he is on the moon. We are in LN5, 10 miles from Lincoln, 10 from Newark, 10 from Sleaford, and 15 from Grantham. If they would just say the transmitter was broken I wouldn’t mind so much, but they keep on and on and on and on………….

  20. I’ve just moved from London to Alderley Edge in Cheshire and my reception is shocking with T-mobile – even outdoors. The site says it should be good. I’ve checked your other websites but non seem to come up trumps – just wondered if you could advise pls? Thanks!

    1. Hi Dawn

      A quick check of the coverage checkers suggests O2 and Vodafone seem to have good coverage in Alderley Edge, but you need to do a little homework on your exact location to be sure. As I’ve mentioned to other people it may be worth just checking with friends and neighbours to see what their experiences are like. A great way to get to know the locals too!

      The Mobile Coverage Stylist

    2. Hi Dawn

      Perhaps you could ask the neighbours who they use. Another option is to get a couple of cheap or free Pay as you go SIM cards from O2, Vodafone and Orange and trial them for a week each. T-Mobile should be obliged to unlock your phone if you’re out of contract. This option allows you to test each network inside your house and at work where coverage can vary the greatest.

      The Mobile Coverage Stylist

  21. Hi there,

    We live in a remote area of the North Pennines and can’t get a mobile reception on any of the providers where we live – I want to buy a mobile phone to use to call home when I am away – mainly in Cumbria – but it would be nice to find a provider who will give me coverage near to where I live (Alston) – any suggestions – Virgin and t-Mobile have absolutely no coverage. Thanks

    1. Hi Sandie

      Mobile phone coverage is so variable that it’s difficult for me to say with total confidence who would be best for you. However I have the following idea. Why not get Vodafone, O2 and Orange Pay as you go SIMs – they should be free or maybe a few quid – and trial each one for a week or so. Just pop the SIMs into your existing phone and test out how good the coverage over a normal week. You can then sign up to the mobile phone network with the best coverage for you with confidence.

      NB: If the phone is locked to a particular network but you are out of contract they have to send you an unlock code.

      Let me know what you think and tell me how it goes.

      The Mobile Phone Coverage Stylist

  22. the reception on my N95 through Orange is horrendous. When living in Norwich i had to stand outside to get a signal. My housemates were fine with their 02 and vodaphone devices. Now i am in Oxford. Again, no phone reception in the house. I find the 3g reception between Oxford and London almost non-existent. I am on a 24 month contract and couldn’t be more unhappy about that situation. Orange will not let me out of the contract and insist that their coverage in my area is fine. Does anybody have any info on what their minimum responsibility is in regard to the service they provide? Thanks

    1. Hi Brendan

      It will be very hard to get them to break your contract based on general coverage. Their terms are very vague about phone coverage. Som ideas that may help:

      Is coverage mainly poor in your house? Perhaps you could get an aerial booster?

      Have you also considered that your phone may be the issue? Perhaps it’s faulty or perhaps the N95 isn’t great in areas of weak coverage? You could ask for a replacement phone if you have insurance or get it fixed/checked under warranty.

      Alterantively you could see if a friend or family member who lives elsewhere would take on the contract.

      The Coverage Stylist

  23. Hi Brendan. I have just re-newed my contract with 3 and have a brand new Nokia N97 and unlimited access to the internet. Unfortunately, even though 3 say my area, CA13, is HSDPA (3.5G) all I can get is 2G. I have taken my phone all over the area and 3G and 3.5G is no where to be found. The people at 3 then advised me to tune manually to Orange but all I can get is T-Mobile (3G) and Vodafone (2G). I have been with 3 for around five years and this is the first time I have experimented with trying to find a good signal because before I just thought that I had an unsuitable mobile phone.
    3 have for a few years been charging me for services that they are not providing and I feel a little bit cheated.
    Many thanks. Bill James.

  24. Hi Brendan,
    Hope you can help with this one.
    I have just been made redundant, so will be retiring from Essex and moving to North Devon…. post code EX36 4PA, and will be giving up my O2 Blackberry. Need to buy my own basic mobile, pay as you go phone, but trying to check the varoius network coverage areas is conflicting and still doesnt tell me which provider will give me the best signal for this area.
    Should I wait until I move there, and ask around who has the best network coverage?
    Also wanted to get the IG 300 which has a large bar keyboard, but understand that they are no longer available, and suggestions for an olde? who just wants a good basic phone with large buttons, bluetooth, and reasonable camera?
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Louise

      Congratulations on the beginning of your new relaxed life!

      You could wait until you get to Devon if you’re happy to live without a phone for now. That way you can try a few different pay as you go SIM cards or ask the locals about their mobile phone coverage. If you buy a phone with SIM now you can just change networks once you get there. You’ll just need to get the phone unlocked at a local store.

      If you had your heart set on the LG 300 you could keep an eye out on eBay as lots of phones are bought on sold there these days. Was it the the LG KF300? It’s a flip phone with large keys and a large display. If so, seem to have it in stock so why not check them out.

      If you can’t find the one you’re after visit a few High Street retailers and have a play with the sample phones. Most of them have working versions you can play with hidden out the back – you just need to ask them to fetch them out – and this will give you a better understanding of how easy they are to use and how clear the screen is to read. Just ignore their sales patter and don’t close the deal there and then. Write down the model number, go online and find the best deal!

      Let me know if you have any more questions and good luck getting your ideal phone.

      The Mobile Coverage Stylist

  25. Hi I am about to leave Vodafone so I can get a free laptop for my son on another deal. Lots of providers are offering this and I’m not too bothered about the phone spec. What I am worried about however is the coverage and am determined not to get trapped into a 2 year deal with a phone that never has a signal! I have looked at the coverage maps but all the providers say that they provide good coverage in my area (Sutton Coldfield West Midlands) and I don’t really believe that. What would you steer clear of if you were me? Thanks a lot x

    1. Hi Bridget

      If all the providers offer good coverage on the maps then the next test I would use is either to get a couple of Pay as you go SIM cards from your favoured networks, probably the ones with the best deals – or – ask around your friends and neighbours to see which network they are on and canvass opinion on quality of mobile coverage.

      The Mobile Coverage Stylist

    1. Hi David

      If coverage seems to go up and down when you’re in one spot it’s often because you’re just on the edge of two mobile network ‘cells’. What this means is that you are in a location that is served by two differnet mobile phone masts – one with poor coverage and one with average or good coverage. Think of two circles overlapping – you’re on the middle bit.

      In order to work whilst you’re walking about or driving a mobile phone has to seamlessly transfer from cell to cell so you don’t experience a drop in coverage. Sometimes if you live or work on the edge of two cells your phone can’t quite resolve which cell is best and keeps switching back and forth between the two. I’ve experienced it recently – It’s really annoying as you can sometimes miss calls or can’t access 3G for data downloads.

      If it’s really bad or frustrating you could change networks or perhaps try a different phone as the quality of reception varies between models of phone.

      The Mobile Coverage Stylist

  26. Hi

    Just for info, I had a 3 mobile broadband contract for 24 months, which was fine until 3 months into the contract term I moved to an area with no 3 coverage. However, they were brilliant and cancelled my contract with no problem at all, saying that they couldn’t charge me for something they couldn’t provide.

    On another note, I also have an O2 mobile which is unable to pick up a signal here at all until I go about half a mile from my home, despite the coverage checker saying that I should have coverage. O2 engineers are checking the network as I type!!

  27. I need to know which network will work at the following post codes: CF3 5DH NP10 8QQ & SA33 4NS.

    I have a phone on orange whic works well at the last two areas but not indoors on the first which is where I am the most.

    I have had avodafone network which works well in the first two areas but not in the third. Is there a network that will work well in all three areas indoors please. My contract is running out and I need a new network. Thanks. Sue

    1. Hi Sue

      The best thing you can do is check the postcode checkers on the links above for each major network to get an idea of the better mobile phone coverage for your chosen locations. The indoors reception issue can be unique to each building I’m afraid. It depends on where in the building you are, how thick the walls are and which other buildings are located between you and the mobile phone mast. You should aim for networks with the best general coverage in the area, but if you want to be really sure ask people who are using their phones in those building which network they are on and how good the coverage is.

      The Mobile Phone Coverage Stylist

  28. Me and my wife are both on Virgin. Coverage at home should be very good according to the link from top of the page. However we often (despite never knowingly actually missing a call) have to run upstairs to the bedroom window mid-call or out into the back garden to be able to hear the caller. At other times reception is perfectly fine.
    Coincidentally (or maybe not, for that is my question) I have a DAB radio which I use as a clock radio to wake us in the morning. I have no choice but to have it tuned to a BBC station, their network is the only one that works all the time, others are totally hit and miss and can’t be relied on to be there when the it switches on in the morning.
    Furthermore, fairly often my car alarm key fob doesn’t work when parked outside the house. This has never ever happened anywhere else.
    Question is could there be some sort of signal being generated nearby that could interfere with them all? A local coach operator has a base within 1/4 mile as the crow flys with a large antennae on it’s roof, I’m guessing to keep in touch with their drivers. Could that be the culprit?

    1. Hi Andy

      I don’t think the coach operator’s antenna would impact your mobile coverage as they should be running on completely different frequencies. Mobile network coverage problems are mainly caused by the distance you are from a mast, the physical landscape around like hills or buildings blocking the signal as well as the phone antenna performance itself. This would affect the DAB radio too.

      I doubt the coach operator antenna would have any impact. If you lived near an airport or military establishment that may explain your problems too.

      The Mobile Network Stylist

  29. is it possible on new phones on contract to switch from 3g to 2g in phone settings as i find i get a better signal on my blackberry storm is better. in my opinion i dont think 3g is worth bothering with!!

    1. You should be able to switch over to 2G only mode which may make your coverage more stable. I used to do the same a few years back but I haven’t every single recent phone. It will probably make the battery last longer too. You will of course have a slower experience when downloading emails or browsing the internet in areas of better network coverage, but you could switch it back on when you’re in a 3G coverage area.

  30. I get extremely poor signal in my home with Orange yet their website says it’s excellent. I would like to change so that I can actually get a signal but all the companies say it is excellent in my area – how can I know if they are any better??

    1. Hi Sammy

      Sounds like you need a real life test. Here’s an idea, have a party/few drinks round your house for some friends and make sure that between the invitees they have phones on all the major networks. i.e. Jane is Vodafone, Tom is on O2, Freddy is on 3…. This way you can ask them to check their mobile network coverage and therefore perform a live test in your own home, whilst they happily drink your vino and nibble on your Kettle Chips!

      If you’re not up for a party you could always as the neighbours to pop round for a coffee or to help you put up a shelf.

      Let me know how it goes!

      The Mobile Network Coverage Stylist

  31. I stupidly changed from vodafone to T Mobile for the handset – first time i have done this aftre being with them for over 20years!!
    I now find that I get a poor or no signal in the areas where I travel to as a contractor. Idiot. So any suggestions about how I can get T Mobile to release me for an 18month contract due to poor coverage?

    1. Hi Keith

      That’s a tricky one. Have you called T-Mobile to see what they are willing to do. How long have you had the contract? If you’re only a few days in you may be able cancel it. Definitely worth checking the terms and conditions of your contract.

      Alternatively if you’ve had it a while you may be be able to downgrade the contract to a lower monthly line rental and take on a second contract, or use a PAYG mobile when at work.

      Worst case you could see if a close friend or family member is willing to take the contract on, although it’s probably not strictly allowed and you will probably lose your number.

      Let me know what they say.

      The Mobile Network Coverage Stylist

  32. im on orange ,i used to have a great signal where i live in Lincolnshire (mablethorpe)never had any problems now all of a sudden i can’t get a signal,people can’t tex me ,i get texes sent from 4 weeks ago,calls dont connect ect …whats going on does any one know or can point me in right directions please.

  33. Everyone selling a home now has to provide and pay for a Home Information Pack (HIP). From the assorted comments above, and from my own frustrated efforts to suss what network will work wherever, I think it’s time we insisted that the pack should include details of mobile network reception. It wouldn’t be difficult – the surveyor would merely come equipped to test all six networks. Obviously it would only be taking a snapshot measurement on one day – but I reckon it would be useful. Write to your MP and local paper suggesting it.

    Alternatively, every local estate agent should record their own observations regarding signals experienced on their own mobile phone at each property.

  34. I have been waiting for 25 years for coverage in S Hampshire 6 miles from Romsey and 11 miles from Salisbury 15 from Southampton. Now the telephone box has gone there is no way for communication in a emergency. I am told that because it is not regulated we cannot put up our own booster for the village. This must be inequitable. Either the Cos supply or we must be able now to provide our own solution. I cannot wait another 25 years, I will be dead.

  35. Hi,
    I’m wondering what coverage is like on the 3 Network in the Hyde area of the New Forest near Fordingbridge and about 5-10 miles north of Ringwood. The phone I am looking at is the LG Viewty and the Network I am looking to put it on is 3. I have no experience of 3 and from looking at forums I have got very mixed views. If you or anybody else has any experience or knowledge on 3’s network in the area stated above or what there customer service and reliability is like please can you just say.
    Thanks Mark. x

  36. hi keith,

    As far as i remember , if you are quick you can return your contract within 7 or 14 days. It depends on network. After , i dont know, . check terms and conditions.

  37. Hi

    I have recently got an I-Phone on Orange and so far so good, great phone and in my home town of Norwich the orange network is very good.

    However i have been traveling to Lincolnshire and the Derby area where the orange network where i have been working is very poor.

    Any ideas what are the best networks are in these areas as it looks like i will have to get another phone for when i’m away.

    Thanks Jim

  38. I’ve got a Tesco mobile, and no coverage where we have just moved. I tried to use your test-coverage link to see if Vodaphone has coverage for my postcode, but it says it doesn’t support my browser – Safari [I have an Apple iMac] so that doesn’t help! can you suggest how I can find out more about coverage, please?

    1. Hi Bene

      the coverage tool is run by Vodafone. I simply link to it.

      I run an iMac and use an additional web browser called Firefox as well as Safari because there are quite a few unenlightened websites out there who don’t support Safari – shocking I know! Firefox is fine with all the coverage checkers.

      Firefox is free to download and the second most popular browser on the market. Just google it to find the website for download.

  39. sorry to be boring, but how do I use an alternative browser – I don’t want to lose Safari [it has all my favourites etc and bookmarks] – but would like to switch between the two.

    1. Don’t worry! It doesn’t replace Safari, it’s just an additional programme, or application, on your Mac and you can use it as much as little as your like to browse the web. Safari will still be available as before. Just be careful when starting Firefox the first time as it offers to be your default browser – untick the box if it does this.

  40. Hi Bob,

    There is a company called smarter mobile who can survey properties and let you know how much coverage you have from each of the 5 major networks, the survey is £750 + VAT so I guess it’s more of a commercial offering.

    These guys can also install a private network in areas of poor coverage

  41. I have just looked at Orange’s coverage guide and how are we supposed to believe them when they run their own ‘checker’. I did a check on Wadebridge in Cornwall as I have visited the place a lot recently. They say that coverage is excellent / very good down thete and yet during my visits I have ‘no network coverage’ in most of that area, surrounding towns and villages included.
    I have to say that I wouldn’t use this method to check on a networks coverage. it is obviously misleading.

  42. Hello,
    I live in quite a poor area for mobile phone coverage – surrounded by lots of trees.
    My brother and I are both on O2 and he gets a farly decent signal (he has a sony ericson) while i get 0-1 bars (I have an LG Viewty).
    I am looking to get a new mobile phone contract but really dont know what network to go with to ensure i get a decent signal while at home because i dont want to be tied in on a 2 year contract with a network that does not work in my house.
    All of the online coverage chechers say my signal should be okay – good but that is not the case
    Please help me choose a network which will work where I live
    Thank You,

    1. Hi Fraser

      From what you say it sounds like your phone is the issue rather than the O2 coverage. If your brother has decent coverage then stick with O2 but try and pick a phone with good coverage. If you buy online you are protected by the distance selling regulations so you can cancel any purchase or contract within 7 days, a great way to trial a phone and return it if the reception is bad.

      Alternatively why not get a couple of Pay As You Go SIMs and test the coverage of other networks?

      Hope that helps.

  43. Hi

    I am about to start commuting to London from Brighton and am considering buying an iphone for internet browsing whilst on the (Southern Rail) train – emails, grocery shopping, generally keeping on top of family life. I am considering the £35pm/24month contracts from O2 and Orange.

    Is it worth paying the bit extra upfront to get the 3GS model?

    WIll I have to pay anything else to use the internet on the train or is that covered by the contract with the mobile phone company?


    1. Hi Jolene

      Sorry for the delay in replying – I’ve been on hols! If you can afford it I’d definitely stretch to the 3GS. It has a faster processor, better camera and records really nice videos. Battery life is a little better too which is important if you’re going to be browsing a lot on the daily commute.

      To use the internet on the train I assume you’ll be using 3G rather than a train WiFi hotspot. I know some train services – longer distance like the East Coast services – offer WiFi but your journey probably doesn’t have that option. Therefore if you’re using 3G to download data and surf the internet your contract already covers that cost (unless you go absoutely crazy and start downloading movies everyday!). As with any train journey or car journey 3G coverage will be patchy so you’ll no doubt find a few black spots on the journey but I would assume that majority of the trip should be fine.

      The Mobile Network Coverage Expert

  44. If your mobile signal is low or non existent do not be tempted by buy any signal enhancing product from After returning the initial product supplied and then buying another more expensive unit (£350.00) the unit failed to work at all. After getting fed up and leaving it for a while I was then told I had bought the wrong unit, although I had discussed my requirements twice with the company. No refund and a complete waste of time and money.

    Just recently I bought ‘Gateway’ from Vodafone which is only £145.00 hooks onto your router and works a treat, we now have a full signal in the house.

    1. Hi Fergus

      Big thanks for this feedback. I’m sorry you had such poor service from Mobile Repeater and thanks for letting everyone know about this so that they can avoid making the same mistake. If they have failed to deliver a product to match your needs could you take legal action if they refuse to refund you? £350 is a hell of a lot of money for something that doesn’t do the job they say it should.

      Please keep us all posted.

      The Mobile Network Coverage Expert

  45. Hi,

    My current mobile contract with T-Mobile has just expired and I am considering visiting my local Apple store with a view to changing contracts and getting the IPhone 3GS. I understand the only networks I could subscribe to are O2, Orange and Vodafone. Is this correct and living and working in Norfolk, which one of the 3 would you recommend?


  46. The phone that you have makes a difference as well, I can’t remember the model of my daughters phone, but with 3 mobile I get a better signal on my INQ than on she gets on her touch phone.

  47. Having just spoken to O2 about coverage I might have some useful info on this. I’ve had a business contract with O2 for a year now. The coverage has been awful at my house in Manchester (always indicated as strong on their coverage map) up until a few weeks ago. I’ve been considering switching to Vodafone or Orange, but the man at O2 says they have recently started sharing (or piggybacking) transmitters with the other companies. That could explain the improvement in my reception but I’m not sure if it could just be seasonal or something.
    Anyone have any comments on this? O2 are offering quite a good upgrade to stay with them for another 12 months but I’m won’t stay with them if the reception is going to be rubbish.

  48. Just read the comment by BadPanda.
    I have an O2 business contract on my iPhone and just moved into Manchester. As in BadPanda’s case, the coverage maps show full connectivity, but even when I was in the garden I was having calls dropped.
    My contract is now over 14 months and they unlocked my phone (free) and I tried various free PAYG SIM cards in the handset. All competitors had full 3G strength. O2 investigated fully and were very professional, helpful and polite (I have been with them for over 4 years, been very happy up until now), and in the end admitted that my particular area is not due for looking at as I was the only “problem”.
    Seems that as they were one of the first 1G/2G companies, they are playing catch up with the newer players offering 3G only from the start.
    They did offer me a significant upgrade–but unfortunately no point without any coverage from home-where I am based for work too.
    It’s a shame to leave O2, as I think that their customer service is really exemplary. I am starting a new contract with Vodafone (I’ve had headaches with Orange and reception in the past in the NW). Their Business rates for iPhone also gives unlimited landline calls.

  49. I’ve just got an i-phone 3GS. I am on a Tesco mobile contract. I live in central Cardiff. Tesco mobile, I understand, piggy back on O2 network. Supposedly the network coverage for my post code is high. However I am finding that I cannot get a network coverage at home. Today, I received an e-mail from someone who had been trying to get through to me. I went outside and walked around for about 40 minutes and couldn’t get a signal to call them back. I’ve never had a problem with Orange network coverage previously with my other phones. What is the problem?

  50. I have terrible coverage (o2) inside a ground-floor flat. If I step outside however, my connection bar on my iPhone ‘maxes’ out with a 3G connection.

    I have been with o2 for 4 years and have lived in 4 homes in that period. Every signal problem I have had was when my home was on the ground floor.

    It is interesting however, to note that the Orange and 3 networks work fine in every room in my house.

    It is quite frustrating though, as my girlfriend has also just entered into a 24 month iPhone contract with o2 and is experiencing the same issues that I am. Surely this is a breach of contract on o2’s part?

  51. Hi Gadgetstylist,

    great job in answering all these questions. Just saw this site about about mobile phone boosters

    are they worth it? Haven’t heard much about them in the press? Could you please explain a little more about them?



  52. We are thinking of moving to an area which has no mobile network coverage at all. Is there a method of using mobiles despite no signal – eg via i phones/blackberries using wi-fi in the house rather than the normal signal ?

  53. I WANT to live in area with absolutely no mobile coverage (my choice) is there a way of locating black spots in the uk? or even better….BLOCKING mobile signals from my home?

  54. i want to live in area with NO mobile coverage – how can I find such an area? or better still ….how can I block mobile signals from my home?

  55. I have run into the problem of moving into an area where O2 have almost zero coverage. As I am moving home and office I am now paying for a contract that I can’t use (just outside of Guildford, so hardly in the sticks!)

    It is rather sad because Vodaphone and Orange seem to have coverage.

    I now have to divert all my calls to a Vodaphone sim card and can’t make use of my free minutes or texts on O2.

    I have spoken to them several times and apparently it is just my problem for moving to a weak signal area and they refuse to cancel the contract or even take the equipment back (I have three business phones on the contract). They want a fortune to cancel the contract – more than it would cost to pay the full amount every month until it ends!

    I have read on a Watchdog forum that at least one person has won a court case – does anybody else know what can be done? Is there an ombudsman you can complain to? It seems to be ludicrous to pay for a service that they are not able to provide!

    It seems to me that they are making no effort whatsover to help the situation.

  56. I have ordered a bunch as orange is horrific in my area. I think o2 is as well – maybe they all are. Yet they all claim excellent coverage…liars! To add insult to injury I have to get my phone unlocked to test them because network providers not only fail to give me signal but also steal control of my phone. Not happy.

  57. Ive had a contract with Vodafone for 10 months and all has been great ive had good coverage wherever ive been etc but last week a mobile phone mast was erected 200 yards from my home and since ive not been able to get a signal within 500 yards of home. Ive contacted vodafone who tell me the area has excellent coverage, then they go through various handset checks with me but no success. What can i do?

  58. I want to buy tesco sim but first i want to know how is tesco network and its coverage. so please send me reply asap.

  59. There is a large movement and potential huge movement from landlines to mobiles. Have the networks not yet worked out that they are going to get more use of mobiles (and thereby more revenue) ONLY when the coverage of quality reception, both 2G and 3G (and upcoming 4G), becomes acceptable ?

  60. Hi

    I live in West Wales in area where Orange say the coverage is good but the 3G is poor. On complaining Orange have initially switch me to use both their infra and that of T-mobile. That didn’t improve. Today they changed my technology turning off the 3G option and using GSM only, I’ll try that.

    My question is : Is there a handset that would improve my situation? I have a Nokia 2730

    Cheers Tony

  61. tony b….

    in response to your comment…i have the sony ericsson w995i, my husband and son have the satio, and my other son a blackberry curve…..we to, are having the same issues with our phones and network (orange) …all of which orange has told us to turn the 3g off an use just gsm…all our calls are being dropped…txt messages to say we have had missed calls, when it hasnt even rang…..i dont think your phone is the problem…its Orange….(there s**t)…and all of our bills, are supposed to be either £25 or £35 a month…and they either coming in at anything from£35-£45 for the £25 a month bill…and the £35 a month is coming in at £45-£55….we have all phoned up to complain…but they always fob you off with something….we all waiting for our contracts to expire…then we outta ere……

  62. How can I get coverage if I’m already stuck in a Vodafone Contract? I have just moved into an apartment. I can get only 3 bars (of 5 bars max) on my Sony Erikson Xperia X1 outside the building front and back, but I can’t get anything inside. It’s so annoying having to go outside to make calls!

    I have read about a “fake” placebo circuit board which I place on the battery, I’m not going to give that the time of day.

    Is a mobile repeater any good? It’s expensive at around £200.00, and I’ll have to install it myself by climbing onto the roof with an external ariel…. Is there a cheaper, more convenient method to boost reception?

  63. I work and live in Ruislip Manor and have O2. It is the worst coverage I have every had. I am constantly loosing signal mid telephone call (quite irritating I can tell you) and rarely get above two bars!
    I checked O2’s ‘objective’ coverage tester and surprise surprise it it fantastic, a full five bars. Well, unless you are clinging onto your TV airiel on the top of your very tall house with a super booster I would suggest that they are drowning in their own propoganda!

  64. 3’s coverage maps are notoriously unreliable but that’s 3 for you. They didn’t earn their ever-growing reputation by being good, honest, professional and competent. More like the complete opposite.

  65. I’m also on 3 – I’ve tried a fewnetworks and had problems with all of them

    Has anyone tried using tracesaver? It shows my dropped calls so then i could call 3 and tell them exactly where and when it was happening – we need to hold the networks to account!!

  66. The information provided by suppliers on the site links is fictitious in my experience. I returned the Virgin mobile as I had no reception in my home (graded as vg on their site) and I have a Vodaphone which sometimes gets up to 2 bars but often cuts out in my home (graded as vg on their site). I live in Camberley, Surrey.

  67. 3 says signal by me was excellent.
    took out a 3 contract for my htc desire hd, £39.99 a month and guess what?

    no signal in my home, work or even in my nans house

    my advice…. order a free simcard before getting tied down with a contract :(

  68. You can get a rough idea by setting your phone to manual network selection and seeing which networks it can find. Repeat it several times and the ones that it sometimes finds but other times not are poor signal. Just my hunch.

    Some people asked about repeaters: they are illegal in UK.

  69. I can’t believe you people…! – you surrender to clear exploitation by these so-called cell-phone “providers” (crooks…!!!) and carry-on paying their exorbitant charges for what must be misrepresented contracts…!!!

    If providers are breaking the terms of their contracts then sue them…! Collectively…!! As a class-act…!!!

  70. Hello all,

    The thing is with mobile signals its about finding whats best for you. Obviously all the networks can’t have a 100 percent success rate but its about you as a customer doing your research and understanding certain things can effect your signal. Things such as what you apartment, flat, house is made out of, if you live anywhere near radio signal intensified operations such as air bases, fire stations, etc.

    You obviously can use your coverage checkers but really its about speaking to your friends, work colleagues and finding out what network they are on and if they are happy with the signal and service. Its no good signing upto a contract and bringing the phone back after weeks or months. If you notice a bad signal then literally 72 hours is really all you have to get it back to wherever you bought it to complain/try to cancel.

    Even when doing this there is no guarentee that any network, excluding o2 who offer a 14 day returns policy, will let you disconnect from them. If you read your small print there will be sections which will tell you that if you move house, or change your circumstances or live somewhere where signal can be affected its not down to the network. Sadly many people do not have time to read through small print when signing the contract, I have had first hand experience of this as I work for a major mobile phone third party retailer.

    Always do your research, always read your smallprint, and always ask the retailer if you can’t get a good signal what its policy is on your bringing back the phone/contract. Also guys, you are aware that many networks will let you downgrade your tariff after a year of being with them. So anyone that feels stuck within their contract and are paying a fair amount of money give your network a call and tell them you would like to downgrade. I took a lady from being on £45 p/m on Three to £15 pound a month. This enabled her to then pay off the contract and start over with Vodafone.

    If anybody ever needs any assistance please dont hesitate to drop me an email on

    Many thanks

    Graeme B

  71. HI
    Be aware that SMART Phones don’t seem to be able to pick up low signal strength like older phones when checking your network coverage.
    I live in rural area with poor coverage for some networks, landline broadband is under a MEG also. So a Smartphone with Internet seemed good idea. I checked for networks using manual connection on my old E51 and then tried it with PAYG SIMs. Based on that and the fact that only 3 offers £G round here I went for an HTC on 3. BIG MISTAKE. Yes my old Nokia E51 and 6302 works OK on 3. But no HTC model does nor more modern Nokias.
    Also be aware that what 3 thinks is good coverage and what they actually provide can be different to other networks. Voda and 3 both have pole 300 metres from me, but only Voda works inside my house.

  72. I presently live at RH10 4LA, most providers have reasonable coverage here until you go indoors. Presently i am with Vodaphone and have a SureSignal to ensure I have indoor coverage. I am thinking of leaving vodaphone – do the other providers have similar devices?



  73. If I put a new sim into my pay as u go mobile what happens to 1) my credit 2) my existing mobile number?? Only use it for texts — need to find cheapest text cost with NO contract—-thanks anyone—

  74. I have a good idea. Buy a landline. I have just signed a contract with the 3 company. They told me I would have excellent coverage. Nope, nothing. You cannot make a call where we live. Reminds me of Monty Python’s “parrot sketch”. My wife has an Orange phone. No, nothing there either. These phones are not phones – they are hand held computers. They should not sell them as phones. I have only taken the 3 contract one day ago. Can I say it is no good or has consumer law got so bad that I have no rights at all?

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