Improving your indoor coverage

Published: 2 June 2023

If you're finding it difficult to get a good mobile signal indoors, you could be missing out on opportunities to stay connected.

It might be difficult to buy goods and services online if you can’t easily receive text messages, which some banks and debit or credit card companies send for security purposes.

Patchy coverage in some areas means some people struggle to make mobile phone calls or get online if they’re using their mobile to do so. In addition, the materials used in the construction of some homes and business premises can affect indoor signal, for example traditional thick stone walls and slate roofs, and also newer glazing and materials used for insulation.

Check which provider offers the best signal in your area

Different mobile providers could offer better coverage in your area, meaning you could get a better indoor signal.

Ofcom’s coverage checker offers information on predicted coverage from different mobile providers at specific locations. It also allows you to view broadband availability and speeds at any UK address.

Finding a fix

Sometimes, you might be able to get a good mobile signal outdoors but not indoors. Thankfully there are ways to deal with this, and some of these might be suitable.

Some fixes can be straightforward. For example, if you struggle to receive text messages to complete an online transaction, you might be able to receive a phone call to your home phone or use an app on your smartphone. More information can be found at the UK Finance website.

Use wifi calling to make calls without a decent mobile signal

Some mobile providers offer wifi calling. This allows you to connect to your broadband service to make calls – as well as making them over the mobile network. Wifi calling can also be used over public wifi hotspots.

Wifi calling is available on a range of smartphones and allows you to use their phone seamlessly without needing to download and use separate apps. You might need to contact your mobile provider to activate the service.

Calls are typically included as part of your normal minutes allowance and out-of-tariff calls are charged at the standard rate.

Wifi calling has some limits. Some people don’t have a handset or package that allows them to use it, or people might struggle to connect to public networks. It’s also not ideal for visitors when a password is required. Also, ask your provider whether it is possible to send and receive text messages using wifi calling.

Use a femtocell if you have a good broadband connection

Some mobile providers offer devices called femtocells to customers who are struggling to get a good indoor signal.

A femtocell is a small piece of kit that connects to your mobile provider’s network via your broadband connection. It often needs to be plugged into a power socket and connected to your broadband router via a cable.

Femtocells can be a good solution if you have a good broadband connection but poor indoor signal. Ask your mobile provider if they offer femtocells to customers, but be aware that some providers charge for them.

Use a repeater if you have a good outdoor signal

A repeater amplifies the signal from outside a building and use it to improve the indoor signal. It's typically larger than a femtocell, and doesn’t need a broadband connection in the same way a femtocell does.

A repeater works best when there is a good outdoor signal that can be boosted indoors.

Ofcom has introduced rules that allow people to install and use certain types of repeater themselves. More information about mobile phone repeaters is available on our website.

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