Clever Money Site #36 – will you get mobile phone signal where you live?

If you’re thinking of switching mobile phone network to take advantage of a better deal, there’s always one big danger – you won’t have any signal at home. This clever site should help you check coverage.

I’ve been with O2 for about eight years, but when my contract expires in early October I’m seriously going to consider moving to a shorter SIM only deal elsewhere, so this new mobile coverage tool from Ofcom (the government’s regulator) is just in time.

What it does

It’s not the snazziest of websites, but that doesn’t matter when it’s so simple.

All you need to enter is:

  • your postcode,
  • your network,
  • if you want to test signal in the home or outside,
  • If you want to test 3G, 4G or plain old “voice calls”

You’ll then be shown a map with red signifying no or poor signal, yellow mixed, and green indicating you should be ok.

Previously you had to go to each network’s website to get this data. Not only has Ofcom bought it all together, it’s conducted some extra testing.

Is it accurate?

Well it’s tough to say. I expect it’s pretty good for outside signal results, but in a house reception can depend on factors the tool won’t know such as thickness of walls.

It says I should get decent O2 4G signal in my home, when signal can actually be variable.

However it does tell me the best reception is from O2 – which means if I do switch, there’s a risk I’ll miss out.

Anything not so good?

It only lists the main providers – O2, Vodafone, EE and Three.

That’s because the other networks all “piggyback” on one of these. You get exactly the same signal etc as the main network, but often at lower prices. 

You just need to know who runs on what. There are plenty small networks but these are the big ones. 

  • GiffGaff and Tesco are actually O2
  • Asda, Virgin, BT, Post Office and The People’s Operator use EE
  • Sainsbury’s and Talk Talk use Vodafone

Also, the website has the look and feel of something made 10 years ago, but it does the job!

Don’t forget to read my guide to getting the best value when upgrading your mobile contract.

>> Find out how good mobile reception is with Ofcom’s mobile coverage checker


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