The guide covers:
Postcode checkersBefore signing up to a service, check the coverage provided by the mobile operators. All operators have online “postcode checkers” which can give an indication of 2G (voice and text) and 3G (mobile broadband) coverage.
Returns policyCheck the terms and conditions about rights to cancel before buying. If necessary, discuss any specific concerns or requirements with a sales representative before signing a contract.
Mobile operators and phone shops may, under certain circumstances, cancel a contract and let customers return a phone within a certain period if they are not getting a good signal.
For example, some operators have a network guarantee which allows customers to return a phone under certain circumstances if they are unable to get a signal. However, this varies by operator and retail outlet.
Try before you buyChoose SIM-only monthly contracts or pay-as-you-go to try out different providers. This allows consumers to test coverage from different operators without being locked into a long-term contract.
Improve indoor coverageCoverage inside buildings can be worse than outside because the building can act as a shield to mobile signals. There are two ways that can improve indoor coverage using a fixed broadband connection:
- a small router-like device called a “femtocell” which boosts mobile coverage via a broadband connection; and
- some operators allow calls and mobile data to be routed across a home Wi-Fi network.
Ofcom is continuing research into mobile not-spots and will publish further findings next year.