Ofcom coverage checker to report on indoor and outdoor mobile data and call coverage at a postcode level
Businesses can now see what levels of indoor and outdoor mobile coverage they can expect when moving to a new office or switching to a different network with Ofcom’s new coverage tool.
The Mobile Coverage Checker uses data from all four major operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – and lets users check a location using a place name or postcode.
Each area is ranked by a colour coded system – green is the highest and red is the lowest – with details about voice and data coverage, indoor and outdoor reception and topographical information which identifies potential obstructions to signal such as valleys and hills.
Indoor coverage is likely to be of particular importance to businesses, many of whom have turned to femtocells, Voice over Wi-Fi and offloading to help improve mobile coverage in buildings with complicated layouts or impenetrable exteriors.
Ofcom mobile coverage checker
“Access to reliable mobile phone coverage used to be a ‘nice to have’. Now it’s essential to many people’s lives,” said Ofcom CTO Steve Unger. “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.”
The checker forms part of Ofcom’s plan to make it easier to switch operator and ensure they can receive a good service. To this end, the regulator is considering replicating the model employed in the broadband market where the new provider handles the switchover – transferring the onus from the customer to the company.
All four major operators have committed to spend a combined £5 billion on their respective network infrastructures to improve rural coverage. Each operator will be required to offer at least voice and text services to 90 percent of the UK’s land mass while full coverage will increase from 69 percent to 85 percent by 2017.
Ofcom is currently in the middle of a once-in-a-decade review of the UK communications market, the conclusions of which could shape the framework for the next decade. In its first ‘issues’ document, the watchdog said it was happy with competition in the mobile sector, but would monitor the trend towards convergence and bundled services carefully.
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