/ Technology

No service: is mobile coverage meeting your expectations?

Most of us are increasingly dependent on our mobile phones – Ofcom has found that 78% of us could not live without our smartphone, but is the signal you’re getting good enough?

We want to have good quality mobile coverage wherever we are, at home, work, outside, or on the move.

While the coverage of 4G mobile networks has increased over the past year, there are still many areas of the UK that experience no coverage, or only have coverage from some (not all) of the mobile network operators.

As you’d expect, it is a particular issue in rural areas and while on the move, but it can also prove to be a problem in some urban areas.

Ofcom plans

Ofcom is looking at measures to improve coverage in those areas that don’t have mobile coverage. However, these measures will only go so far to address the issue. It will be up to the government to decide what further steps should be taken to achieve near-universal mobile coverage across the UK.

When we have a connection, the quality of it is important too, so that we can quickly and easily send messages, stream music and watch videos on the move – this can often become a problem when many users try to use the network at the same time, such as when you’re at a busy train station.

Network congestion

This network congestion means that we can experience slower data speeds, meaning it takes longer to upload Instagram photos or download emails.

We’d like to hear your experiences ahead of Ofcom’s consultations; have you experienced problems when you are using your phone, such as being unable to make calls, send texts or emails, or make use of apps such as Facebook or Instagram?

How did the problem affect you – for example, did it stop you getting in contact with family and friends, or being able to work on the move?

Please do not post your exact address or full postcode when commenting. Thanks.


One partial solution could be to instigate a system of ‘domestic roaming’, allowing customers of one network to automatically switch to another for free if their preferred (contract) network is unavailable or too congested.
The benefits of this for businesses generally and lone travellers etc are numerous and obvious.
I’m on the EE network but recently travelled to rural Cambridgeshire where only O2 was available, similarly in a Norfolk village only Vodafone had a strong signal and 4G.
If I go to an EU country I can use my phone on their networks as if in the UK.
If we use the existing networks more efficiently, would that free up resources to widen the networks and thereby plug the gaps?
I don’t suppose the various network providers would agree to this willingly, but I can suggest a way around to achieve the same goal.

GrahamB, what you seek is currently possible for the UK, simply by using a mobile phone that is based in another UK country, e.g. Ireland.
I wonder if Brexit will allow the reintroduction of rip-off roaming charges for UK account holders?