About the Mobile and Broadband Checker

16 December 2016

This checker shows the broadband and mobile coverage availability for your address.  It will also show the predicted speeds available for broadband.

The checker can also test your Wi-Fi and broadband connections and suggest tips for improving your speed.  The checker quickly runs a series of tests and measurements from your smartphone or tablet to tell you how well your mobile or broadband connection is performing.

To get a complete view of the quality of your connection, we recommend running tests in different places, at different times, and on different devices.

By downloading the smartphone app, you are accepting Ofcom’s terms and conditions for use which are available here: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/checker-app/terms-and-conditions

The checker is also available in Welsh.

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. We will continue to conduct testing, work with the mobile operators and analyse consumer feedback with a view to improving the accuracy of the map. The map may differ from those provided by the network operators; see the FAQ below for reasons why.

This checker uses broadband availability and predicted speeds data provided by the UK's major Internet Service Providers in June 2016.

Standard Broadband speed predictions refer to the highest predicted speed of any major ISPs for packages up to 30 Mbit/s.  Superfast Broadband speed predictions refer to the highest predicted speed of any major ISPs for packages between 30 and 300 Mbit/s. Ultrafast Broadband speed predictions refer to the highest predicted speed of any major ISPs for packages over 300 Mbit/s. The checker should not be regarded as providing a definitive view and we plan to update the data later in the year.

Mobile coverage checker Frequently Asked Questions

The map shows the coverage of the four main network operators in the UK:EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three. All other mobile operators in the UK provide their services over these networks. Examples include:

  • Virgin Mobile, Asda Mobile and BT Mobile use the EE network.
  • Tesco Mobile and Lycamobile use the O2 network.
  • Lebara Mobile and TalkTalk Mobile use the Vodafone network.

Some of these operators may not offer services over 4G, so check with them if you want to use 4G. Your operator may have a coverage checker on its own website.

2G networks support voice calls, text messaging and very low speed data connections. All handsets are able to connect to 2G networks.

3G networks support voice calls, text messages and mobile broadband. Most phones support 3G connections, but some older phones and very basic phones do not. When 3G coverage is not available handsets will try and connect to the 2G network, where one is available to them.

Ofcom's map uses data from the mobile operators about how strong they think signal levels are at every location in the UK. Ofcom carried out field tests to measure the signal strength required for mobile calls to work reliably on commonly used handsets. Each mobile operator has a slightly different approach to displaying coverage on its own map, including assumptions on the handsets used, levels of call reliability and the expected signal loss when indoors or in car. Because Ofcom's map brings all of their data together in a single place and holds it to a single, independent standard, our map may display different levels of coverage than those seen on the operators' websites. Links to the operators' maps can be found here:

We update our map regularly (every month) and the mobile network operators update theirs, but there may be times when the maps are based on slightly different data and therefore show different coverage.

The mobile coverage map is based on coverage predictions from the mobile operators. These predictions are generated using computer programmes that simulate the way mobile signals travel from mobile masts and are blocked by obstructions such as hills, trees and buildings.Coverage can also be affected by the device that you are using.

Our own measurements of mobile signals in different parts of the UK have shown that the computer models are usually accurate, but can sometimes be wrong.

Predicting indoor and in car coverage is subject to large variations as signal loss can vary significantly depending on the materials used. The Ofcom map reflects a typical signal loss for a house or car, but in some cases the signal loss may be greater. For example, if you are in a basement or in a house with thick stone walls.

If you are experiencing problems with indoor coverage you may wish to consider some of the solutions that the mobile operators can offer. For example, all the main network operators now have solutions that allow calls to be made and received over Wi-Fi.

Even when a signal is available, you may experience problems making calls or accessing mobile data services. This is usually because of congestion, where lots of other people are using the network at the same time and you are sharing the capacity of the mobile mast with them.

Mobile broadband is delivered using 3G and 4G networks. If you are in an area where your provider only has coverage from their 2G network you should be able to get a very low speed data connection, but web browsing and other services are likely to be slow and unresponsive. If you are connected to a 2G network your handset will usually display '2G', 'GPRS' or 'EDGE' at the top of the screen.

Even when you have a strong 3G or 4G signal you may experience a poor broadband connection. This is usually because of congestion, where lots of other people are using the network at the same time and you are sharing the capacity of the mobile mast with them.

If you are connected to a 3G network your handset may display '3G', 'HSDPA', 'H+' or similar. 4G connections are usually displayed as '4G' or 'LTE' on the handset. Most handsets support 3G, but you may need to upgrade your handset, and possibly your subscription, to access your operator's 4G network.

The speed and reliability of 3G and 4G data can also be affected by the device that you use.

Check the provider's coverage before you buy a new contract (you can use our map and we would recommend you also check the provider's coverage checker) and then try your coverage as soon as you get connected. Try using your phone in the places you know you'll need it (such as home, work and other important places). If you bought your mobile contract at a distance (for example online or over the phone) and either change your mind about your contract, or find that coverage is a problem for you, you can cancel your contract under the statutory cooling off period that applies to the first two weeks. If you bought your mobile contract in a mobile provider's shop, check with your provider as many offer a 'check your coverage' cooling off period for contracts bought in store for the first two weeks after you sign up.

You should contact your mobile operator in the first instance if you are having coverage problems as they may have solutions for your problem. You'll be able to find contact details and their complaints procedure on their website or on your paper bill.

Information on how to complain to Ofcom about your provider.

Though Ofcom is unable to get involved in individual disputes, we do log and monitor the complaints we receive to help inform our decisions.

Broadband Checker Frequently Asked Questions

We've defined standard broadband as any broadband connection that operates below 30 Mbit/s. If you subscribe to a service that is advertised with a headline speed of below 30 Mbit/s then you have a standard broadband connection.

We've defined superfast broadband as any broadband connection that operates between 30 and 300 Mbit/s. Superfast networks use optical fibre in the streets to deliver higher speeds. 

Ultrafast networks are those that operate above 300Mbit/s.

The predicted speeds used in the checker are provided by the leading UK ISPs. We did not receive data for every premises in the UK, and we will continue to work with industry to fill in the gaps. If no predictions are shown for your address this does not necessarily mean broadband is not available and we suggest that you check availability on the ISP websites.