How can I check mobile coverage when buying a house?

How can I check mobile coverage when buying a house?

03 February 2014

illustration of mobile phone reception coverage

Poor mobile reception doesn’t have to get in the way of finding your perfect home. We explain how to check for signal coverage and what to do to improve call and data quality.

What’s the reception like in my area?

Generally speaking there is reasonable coverage in the entire Douglas Allen area but you may experience reception problems in Little Warley south of Brentwood and in some areas around Loughton.

You can check this for yourself using the coverage maps provided by all the mobile phone companies – you can find links on the Ofcom website.

How reliable are these maps?

These maps are created by tests made by the networks themselves but you shouldn’t assume that just because a house falls in an area of reported strong reception that it will be possible to make calls indoors. There are many variations on signal based on obstacles between the house and base station that haven’t been part of the map calculations.

Can I check for myself?

The easiest way to check reception is to look at the signal bars on your phone while you’re viewing a house. These only give a very rough idea of what reception is like so it’s a good idea to double-check by making a call or using the internet. Don’t rely on the experience of a single room as it may be on the other side of the house from the base station.

Is there a way to check before viewing?

There is a website and smartphone app (Android and iPhone) called Rootmetrics that can give you an independent idea of reception in the area. Visit the website and enter a postcode to see a report on the reception in the area. The mobile app for iPhone and Android not only gives this information but lets you perform a signal test yourself.

The results of the test are sent back to the Rootmetrics website so they can be used by other people wanting to find out reception in the area.

What to do about bad signal

There is a way to fix the problem of poor reception without having to resort to switching networks. Many mobile companies sell booster boxes that plug into your broadband router to use your internet connection to make calls. They are easy to set up and can then be left alone to improve reception. Some (such as the Vodafone Sure Signal) will only work with numbers you supply to Vodafone, so they won’t fix reception for visitors. We also recommend steering clear of cheap boosters on sites such as eBay because they may not be legal to use.

What’s your area like?

Have you had a bad experience of mobile reception in our area? If so, did you find a solution? Share your experiences with us on Twitter at @douglasallenea or on our Facebook page.

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