Not being able to use your mobile phone, even in your own home, because of a poor mobile phone signal can be frustrating.
People in rural areas in particular may suffer mobile blackspots – but a weak signal isn’t always just a result of how far you are from the nearest mobile phone mast.
Buildings, the landscape around you and even your handset itself can affect a mobile signal.
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Here’s our guide to increasing your mobile reception and getting the best mobile phone signal possible.
1. Switch network provider
Mobile phone coverage varies by location. Some mobile providers offer better coverage than others, especially in rural areas where there are less phone masts.
Check the mobile coverage for your area by using Ofcom’s coverage checker tool. If another mobile network provider offers far better coverage for your location, consider switching.
2. Take your mobile phone higher
Mobile phone reception usually improves the higher you are, as there are fewer obstacles such as buildings that can block the signal.
If you’re at the foot of the hill or in a valley, start climbing. If indoors, try going upstairs and keep to the side of the house that’s nearest the phone mast.
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3. Open a window
As mobile radio waves can struggle to penetrate walls, standing next to an open window at home or elsewhere may help you get a strong enough signal to make an uninterrupted call.
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4. Go outside
Making calls from deep inside buildings, basements and underground parking garages is virtually impossible as mobile signals are blocked by construction material, such as concrete and steel, as well as earth.
So if you’ve no reception, head outside where you are likely to enjoy a stronger signal.
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5. Keep your battery charged
Your mobile phone uses lots of power making a call. You need enough battery life to initiate the call, as well as transmit and maintain a reliable signal.
A low battery can result in dropped calls, so keep your phone charged throughout the day.
We moved from a town to a village. My mobile had good coverage in our old home, but now it’s awful. I’m halfway through a 12-month contract – can I end it?
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Companies must provide a contracted service with reasonable care and skill. ‘If they can’t, you could end the contract without paying early termination penalties,’ says solicitor Sarah Garner.
You need to prove the provider is at fault. It may argue it’s not as you didn’t have poor coverage when you signed the contract, and claim you’re in breach for not honouring your contract.
If coverage is OK everywhere but your home, ask the provider to carry out tests to fix the issue. ‘If it can’t, tell your provider you’re cancelling the contract due to poor signal,’ says Sarah. If after two months you’ve got nowhere, or the company says they can do no more to help, contact the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme or Ombudsman Services.
6. Avoid electronic devices
Electronic devices, such as laptops, iPads and microwaves, can interfere with your mobile phone signal, so avoid these if you’re struggling to make a call.
Try turning off wi-fi and Bluetooth too on a mobile phone so it can maintain a mobile network connection.
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7. Hold your phone correctly
Sounds strange, but the way you hold your phone can interfere with the mobile signal, with Apple iPhones heavily criticised for this is the past.
Avoid covering your phone’s antenna when gripping the handset to ensure the signal isn’t blocked. Alternatively use a hands-free headset when making calls.
8. Use a wi-fi signal
If you’re at home and have wi-fi router connection to your broadband, you may be able to make calls and send messages from your mobile phone using a wi-fi signal instead.
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9. Try a signal booster
If you live in a basement flat or a rural area with little mobile coverage, talk to your network provider to see if they offer a signal booster. This is a piece of hardware or software that uses your home wi-fi connection to strengthen your mobile phone’s reception and ability to make calls.
Avoid buying unlicensed signal boosters online or from third-party companies as these are illegal to use in the UK.