- 29 per cent get poor or no signal at home, according to uSwitch survey
- Signal problems worst in Bristol, Cardiff, Norwich, Plymouth and Sheffield
- 32 per cent of Three and EE customers reported poor reception for voice calls
Almost a third (29 per cent) of UK mobile phone users are still blighted by poor or no reception for voice calls at home, a new study suggests.
Bristol residents are most likely to suffer from poor indoor mobile reception (39 per cent), followed by those in Cardiff and Norwich (35 per cent), Plymouth (33 per cent) and Sheffield (33 per cent). Even those living in the capital are affected, with 30 per cent of Londoners reporting poor or partial indoor mobile reception.
Three and EE customers are most likely across the big four networks to report their coverage as poor (32 per cent, compared to 31 per cent for Vodafone and 30 per cent for O2). While O2 customers were most likely to report their reception as excellent (71 per cent).
Cut off: Almost a third of mobile phone users suffer poor or no call reception at home
As many as 36 per cent of mobile customers report having to relocate to specific parts of their house to boost their chances of successfully making or taking a call, according to the poll of 2,000 people by uSwitch.
Meanwhile, 32 per cent have to rely on landlines, and 30 per cent have to connect to home WIFI and make use of apps such as FaceTime, Whatsapp or Skype.
And just over a quarter have to go outside to make calls.
While the total number of mobile phone users reporting problems represents a minor improvement of 5 per cent on last year, according to survey findings from uSwitch, more than half of mobile users still experience ‘patchy’ call quality.
Four in ten have had calls cutting out, and 37 per cent have suffered no reception at all when trying to make or take calls at home.
The mobile users questioned this year say that two in five calls they make or take on their handsets at home are ‘patchy’, and around one in six suddenly cut out.
Some 62 per cent of users suffering with poor reception at home say the issue has plagued them ever since they moved in, while a fifth say they’ve been adversely affected since changing network.
Countryside residents still have it worst, with half receiving poor or no call signal
Unsurprisingly, those living in rural areas are most likely to report getting poor or no reception (50 per cent, which is just a 2 percentage point improvement on last year). And those in suburban areas were most likely to receive an excellent mobile signal (79 per cent).
Percentage of customers who rate their indoor mobile reception as ‘excellent’ or ‘poor/partial/no’ reception
While 02 has the most customers reporting excellent reception but while the figures are tight, EE and Three have the most customers reporting poor reception
Meanwhile, uSwitch’s findings suggest there has been a good improvement for those living in the inner city. Only 32 per cent reported signal issues in 2017, down from 41 per cent last year.
Outside of their homes, nearly a quarter (73 per cent) of UK mobile users report that they experience patchy or poor mobile service on a day-to-day basis – three in 10 (30 per cent) suffer poor voice call reception on trains, while over a third (34 per cent) have difficulties with their phone signal in public spaces.
‘I have to hang out of my window to take a call’
Summer Khan is with EE and lives in a third-floor flat in Bolton. It’s a small development and while it’s surrounded by trees, it’s also close to a big retail park and yet she really struggles to make and receive calls on her mobile at home.
Summer Khan’s phone cuts out mid-conversation if she’s lucky enough to receive a call in the first place
She says it’s frustratingly hard for her to get any signal at all in her flat and even if she does on the rare occasion manage to then it’s hard to hear the other person on the line because the connection is weak.
Because she can’t get any signal she has to rely on email and a landline.
Summer says she has previously missed out on outings with friends who have tried calling her but the call didn’t come through.
She finds it extremely embarrassing when her phone cuts out mid-conversation with someone. And to get any kind of half decent signal she needs to hang her head out of a window.
‘All the residents I speak to have the same issues, whichever network they’re on, and in my case, EE’s network checker says coverage is meant to be very good here,’ she told This is Money.
Nearly two thirds of mobile users admit that they didn’t check their current network’s coverage map to see if they could get indoor signal in their area before signing up to its service. And 19 per cent said they were unaware they could even do so.
Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch, says: ‘Mobile users hoping to avoid poor signal and buy into the best service they can get should check coverage maps – which can be found online – for where they work, live and socialise before joining a new network. With many consumers not knowing such maps exist, it would make a great deal of sense to have this data available much earlier in the purchasing journey – such as at the point for comparison. This swift fix could prevent more consumers losing out by overlooking providers that could better serve their area.’
He adds: ‘It’s possible that if your signal continues to go downhill that you may have a problem with your handset or SIM card – so check this out before moving networks. It’s also possible that new buildings or renovations could be interfering with your mobile phone signal.
What you can do about signal problems
‘It’s worth letting your provider know immediately if you’re experiencing issues as it might be something that can be sorted out with a signal booster,’ says Doku. ‘Failing that, it might be worth looking at switching networks – but do make sure to keep a log of any call reception issues, and note the dates you contact your network to report them. This helps to build a watertight case to move provider mid-contract if needs be.’
Admitting its patchy signal problems while insisting it’s investing in its network infrastructure ‘to increase reliability and coverage for all our customers’, a Three spokesperson told This is Money: ‘We have a couple of great solutions for any Three customers who may still be struggling to get great signal indoors. These include 4G Super Voice, created to tackle indoor blackspots, and WiFi calling, which allows voice calls over WiFi signal. This means more customers can make calls in areas they couldn’t before.’
At the other end of the reception spectrum, a spokesperson for O2 said: ‘It’s encouraging to see our customers are the most satisfied when it comes to indoor coverage… However, there is more to do. We continue to invest over £2 million every day broadening and deepening coverage for the benefit of all of our customers across the UK to give them the best possible network experience.
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Courtesy: Daily Mail Online