Prior to ordering a SIM only contract it is important to consider not only the actual specifics of the deal on offer such as free minutes, free texts, unlimited Internet, etc but also whether the phone network you have chosen will provide you with the best mobile phone reception available in your location. Before committing to buy a SIM only deal it is possible to check the mobile phone coverage in your area by using a network coverage checker. Each mobile phone network offers an online network coverage checker which you can use by entering the postcode of your home or workplace onto the web page and the graphic will tell you whether the mobile signal will be strong from that particular network in the given area.
The coverage between mobile phone networks can vary greatly even within a short radius so it is definitely worth using the network coverage checkers because it has been known for reception to be excellent in one area and 500 metres away, the same network records a poor signal. In addition to checking the signal strength from home it is also worth checking the signal strength at places where you will commonly use your phone such as your workplace or friends and relatives homes.
Check Mobile Phone Reception by Network in Your Area
How to Use Online Phone Network Coverage Checkers
Although you would assume that it is easy to use the online mobile phone signal strength checker tools, each tool is provided by a different network so they work in subtly different ways. We have provided a quick step by step guide to using each network signal strength checker tool for your convenience.
The online mobile phone signal checker tool from Vodafone shows both indoor and outdoor coverage for an area by postcode or place name and even shows future planned coverage.
To use the tool enter the desired postcode or place name to be checked in the box provided and click “check coverage”. A map of the area will then be shown on the screen with options showing the 3G and mobile broadband coverage and the standard coverage. Depending on the strength of the signal in the area a colour overlay corresponding to the signal strength will be laid over the map. To check the future coverage in the area click the small radio button (hover over the round dot and click to select).
T-Mobile only shows the outdoor signal strength of their phone coverage, but they do allow you to select 3 postcodes or place names at the same time. They categorise them as live, work and play.
To check T-Mobile coverage you should enter the postcode or place name into the box provided and when finished click on the “check coverage” button and then scroll down the page. A map of the area will then be shown with a colour overlay on the map corresponding to the strength of the signal for 2G services (voice, text and picture messaging). To see the strength of 3G coverage (video and high speed Internet), click on the 3G link directly to the right of the 2G link.
The O2 phone signal coverage checker gives you a few options to search upon. You can search by current O2 coverage, future O2 coverage or HSDPA O2 coverage criteria (HSDPA is an advanced form of 3G technology) and geographically you can search by postcode, town/city, motorway junction or sounds like.
To use the tool click the button you wish to select next to either current O2 coverage, future O2 coverage or HSDPA O2 coverage, then enter either the postcode, town/city, motorway junction or sounds like into the box provided then click “search”. The standard map will then appear with a colour overlay telling you the strength of the signal in the areas on the map displayed.
Orange offer a simple search box on their online mobile coverage tool which allows you to compare up to 6 search criteria based on place name or postcode.
To use the tool you need to enter your postcode or place name and then click “search”. The map with the standard colour overlay corresponding to signal strength will then be displayed. There are 4 different types of signal strength analysed. These are voice and text (based on 2G technology), email and browsing (based on 2G technology), browsing and downloading (based on 3G technology) and hi-speed browsing (based on 3G+ / HSPA technology). Check the colours that correspond to the type of signal you would require most.
The 3 online signal checker tool allows you to search for mobile broadband coverage or standard mobile phone signal coverage by searching on a postcode or a place name (up to 3 at a time).
To use the tool enter your postcode or place name in the box provided and then select whether you want to check mobile broadband coverage in your area or mobile phone coverage then click “search”. A map of the area is then show with colour overlays corresponding to the indoor and outdoor coverage.
The Virgin online signal checker is in the same format as the T-Mobile signal checker tool so please see the above T-Mobile instructions for advice on how to use the Virgin tool.
Why Is There Poor Mobile Phone Reception In My Area?
There are a variety of reasons why you may not be able to get a good reception in your area.
Important aspects to be considered are the quality of your phone antenna or whether you are indoors. For details on how to increase your mobile phone signal indoors see our guide. One of the biggest reasons for poor phone reception is how far you are from your phone network operators nearest phone mast. The further you are away from the phone mast, the weaker the phone signal which will mean an increase in the likelihood of dropped calls or even a lack of network coverage entirely.
Some networks share masts to increase the network coverage nationwide and you can find an interactive map showing the locations of the phone masts operated by the respective mobile phone companies via the http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk/ website.