Improving your indoor coverage
Some people can find it difficult to get a good mobile signal indoors, which means they could be missing out on opportunities to stay connected.
They might also find it difficult to buy goods and services online if they can’t easily receive text messages, which some banks and debit or credit card companies send as part of improved security measures.
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.
Which provider offers the best signal in your area?
Different mobile providers could offer better coverage in your area, and therefore a better indoor signal.
Ofcom’s checker offers information on predicted coverage from different mobile providers at specific locations as well as broadband services.
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.
Wifi calling – for those struggling with a poor mobile signal indoors but access to decent Wifi
Some mobile providers offer wifi calling. This allows you to connect to your broadband service to make calls – in addition to 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 limitations. 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 SMS messages using wifi calling.
Indoor boosters – suitable for those with access to a decent broadband connection
Some mobile providers offer indoor signal boosters to customers who are struggling to get a good indoor signal.
These are small pieces of kit that connect to your mobile provider’s network via your broadband connection. They often need to be plugged into a power socket and connected to your broadband router via a cable.
They can be a good solution for mobile customers who have a good broadband service but poor indoor service.
Speak to your mobile provider to find out whether they offer boosters, but be aware that some providers charge for them. Prices range from £70 to £140.
Indoor boosters should not be confused with repeaters. Repeaters amplify the signal from outside a building and use it to improve the indoor signal. They are typically larger than indoor boosters, and don’t need a broadband connection in the same way indoor boosters do.
Until recently, the use of repeaters was restricted. However, Ofcom relaxed the rules and certain types of repeater are now allowed.
Please note: repeaters that claim to be ‘wideband’, or those which amplify signals from more than one operator at a time are unlikely to meet our rules and using them could therefore be against the law. You should only buy repeaters that carry a ‘CE’ mark in the product.
Also bear in mind that repeaters require set-up. This might not be straightforward and depending on where they need to be located, they can require access to high areas such as roofs or high walls. This can result in extra costs that you’ll need to bear in mind.
Advice on repeaters is available on the Ofcom website.