Worst mobile phone signal areas revealed

28 March 2014

Birmingham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Inverness and Edinburgh experience the worst mobile phone signals in the UK, according to a new survey.

Customers of the 3 network in particular suffer the inconvenience of patchy signal strength in Birmingham, Bromley and Newport, while those with EE receive the worst coverage in Newcastle upon Tyne, London and Brighton.

O2 customers struggle to make calls and send texts in Inverness, Manchester and London; and Vodafone customers are most frustrated by a weak signal in Edinburgh, Bristol and Cambridge.

Roshan Bholah, founder of SIMOnlyContracts.co.uk, which conducted the survey, said: "A lot of people don't think to test the network strength when purchasing a new phone or switching networks, but it's an important task that a lot of phone companies or networks don't think to mention when making a sale.

"They don't care if the signal strength in your particular area isn't the best because they're making a sale."

How to check your signal strength

There are a couple of ways to check the strength of a network signal. The simplest is to visit the network's website and type your postcode into its coverage checker. You could also consider purchasing a temporary pay-as-you-go SIM card and test out a network's signal for a week or so.

Alternatively, you could always ask your friends or family to see what experience they've had. But if you're fed up of signal problems, what can you do?

Pay-as-you-go customers can quickly and easily switch to another network but for contract customers things a bit more complicated.

If you constant consistently lose service, you may be able to terminate the contract for non-performance. This is because under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, "a service provider must provide the contracted service with reasonable care and skill," according to consumer rights group Which?.

It adds that if you're cancelling a contract due to poor mobile signal, "you must be clear about this when speaking to your provider to avoid a termination fee".

"Be clear to say you're terminating the contract due to a sustained and prolonged lack of service," it advises.

If your provider fails to let you out of your contract and resolve your complaint within eight week, ask for it to send you a ‘deadlock' letter, setting out the company's position.

Once you have the letter, or if the company fails to respond within 14 days, you will then be able to take your mobile complaint to ombudsman Cisas. In some cases it can arrange compensation.

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