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Ofcom Launch Optimistic UK Mobile Network Coverage Checker

Thursday, Aug 13th, 2015 (10:39 am) - Score 1,714

The telecoms regulator has launched a new Mobile Coverage Checker, which they hope will make it easier for consumers in the United Kingdom to view the 2G, 3G and 4G (Mobile Broadband) signal quality of Mobile Network Operators in any given area. But it’s not that different from what is already on offer.

The new service allows users to zoom into a specific location on a map, or simply enter a place name or postcode, to receive data on coverage for each mobile network – down to 100 square metres. Each area has also been ranked with a colour-coded system, with green showing the highest likelihood of mobile coverage and red the lowest.

On top of that the map also gives a prediction about the expected quality of indoor as well as outdoor mobile coverage.

Steve Unger, Ofcoms CTO, said:

Access to reliable mobile phone coverage used to be a ‘nice to have’. Now it’s essential to many people’s lives. We believe our map is the most comprehensive tool available to consumers and businesses to check mobile coverage. We’re encouraging people to feed back after using the map, so we can continue to improve its accuracy.”

Of course one of the problems with coverage checkers is that in the real-world they’re about as reliable as politely asking a domestic cat not to eat your toilet roll, which is to say.. not very. Unfortunately Ofcom’s coverage data is likely to suffer the same pitfalls.

According to the regulators website, “This map uses signal level predictions provided by the four UK mobile network operators. Ofcom has tested actual coverage in various locations around the UK, and used the results to set the thresholds for voice calls used on the map.” On the upside the regulator does promise to conduct further testing and “analyse consumer feedback with a view to improving the accuracy of the map,” so that’s a plus.

The reality is that accurately mapping mobile network coverage is not and never will be an easy task, which leaves plenty of room for error. Related radio signals can be affected by a variety of different factors in the environment and as such they are almost always far too optimistic. Never the less it’s good to have a central checker.

Ofcom’s Mobile Coverage Checker

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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