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August 13, 2015

Ofcom boosts consumer choice with mobile coverage checker

Users can check coverage online for specific areas by entering an address or postcode.

By Alexander Sword

Ofcom has launched an online tool to check mobile coverage in the UK.

The colour-coded map, available on Ofcom’s website, allows users to receive data on coverage for a specific location by entering a place name or postcode.

Results can be specified for the four carrier networks, EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three, as well for specific services such as voice calls, 3G and 4G.

The user can also find results for indoor or outdoor coverage.

"This must be down to efforts by Ofcom to improve mobile standards to allow customers to be informed," commented Kester Mann, Principal Analyst at CCS Insight.

"The new CEO Sharon White is keen on enabling customers to make decisions about their operator and improving transparency."

Efforts by Ofcom to improve customer choice also saw the launch of a review into mobile switching last month.

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The regulator identified a range of issues concerning consumers’ ability to switch between mobile operators. This includes the difficulty and cost of switching, as processes are often not coordinated and consumers may be forced to contact both providers.

Ofcom also criticised the problems with continuity between a customer’s existing service and its new one.

Steve Unger, Ofcom’s Chief Technology Officer, said: "We believe our map is the most comprehensive tool available to consumers and businesses to check mobile coverage. We’re encouraging people to feed back after using the map, so we can continue to improve its accuracy."

According to a recent report by Rootmetrics, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester are the best urban areas for mobile coverage. London comes in ninth place, with particularly poor results for voice calls.

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