Get the local low-down on mobile and broadband …just put in a postcode

31 March 2016

  • Ofcom launches one-stop checker, using industry speeds and coverage data
  • New study compares performance of UK’s major mobile providers

People and businesses can check the quality and coverage of mobile and broadband services by postcode, using a powerful new interactive tool from Ofcom.

The Mobile and Broadband Checker uses coverage, availability and speeds data, collected directly by Ofcom from major communications providers. This has not been readily accessible to consumers and businesses before.

Simply by entering a postcode, users can check mobile coverage, the availability of superfast broadband and average download speeds - all in one place.

Ofcom’s original Mobile Coverage Checker, launched last year, has had more than 700,000 visits, helping users discover the quality of mobile coverage where they live and work.

The new tool includes latest information on mobile coverage, and adds important statistics on the availability and quality of home and office broadband in a given postcode.[1] It shows:

  • whether superfast broadband services are available;
  • the average download speeds delivered by standard and superfast broadband;[2]
  • where there is coverage for voice calls, and 3G or 4G data networks; and
  • the quality of mobile coverage inside and outside of buildings.

Businesses looking to relocate or expand to new premises, as well as house-hunters, can use the tool to help assess the quality of communications services in different areas.

Similarly, customers looking to upgrade their broadband package can check whether faster services are locally available and, if so, how superfast and standard broadband speeds compare on average.

People and businesses can also investigate whether their existing broadband service is underperforming, by comparing their connection speed against the average for neighbouring properties. This could provide useful evidence when contacting a provider with a service problem.

Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “This interactive map is part of our work to arm people and businesses with high-quality, accessible information, helping them make informed decisions about their communications services.”

The checker is online now.

Smartphone cities report

Ofcom has also today published Smartphone Cities,[3] a report comparing the mobile broadband and voice performance of the UK’s four national mobile providers - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

Testing was carried out in five cities across the UK - Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Norwich - between November and December 2015, using the latest available measuring equipment.

To capture a snapshot of ‘real-world’ service quality levels for 4G networks, a range of metrics were measured, reflecting the everyday usage habits of smartphone users.

These included download, upload and web-browsing speeds, video streaming quality, and phone call success rates.

The report is available to download from the Ofcom website.



1. The mobile coverage map within the checker tool 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. The mobile coverage map may differ from those provided by the network operators. The broadband checker uses data provided by the UK's major Internet Service Providers in June 2015 to calculate average speeds. Superfast and ultrafast Broadband availability is based on data from May 2015 and also includes data provided by five alternative network providers. The checker should not be regarded as providing a definitive view. Ofcom has made the data available for download.

2. Standard services in the checker tool are defined as those products delivering speeds of less than 30Mbit/s. Superfast services are defined as those products delivering speeds of between 30 and 300Mbit/s.

3. Ofcom’s Smartphone Cities report does not provide an exhaustive analysis of mobile networks’ performance. It gives a snapshot of how EE, O2, Three and Vodafone performed in a series of tests we conducted in November and December 2015, in certain locations, with reference to a set of metrics that are easily recognisable to consumers and relevant to how they use their smartphones. All operators carried out varying degrees of maintenance on their networks during our test period which may have affected their results. Network performance is only one factor consumers should take into account when choosing their provider. Price, quality of customer service, coverage, contract terms and handset choice are also relevant and will play a part in their quality of experience.


Lizzi Regan
Ofcom Communications
+44 (0)300 123 1795