Posted by Hetan Mistry
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 cannot 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 are 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.
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.
Wi-Fi calling – for those struggling with a mobile signal indoors but access to decent Wi-Fi
Some mobile providers offer Wi-Fi calling. This allows you to connect to your broadband service to make calls – in addition to making them over the mobile network. Wi-Fi calling can also be used over public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Wi-Fi 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.
Wi-Fi calling has some limitations. Some people do not have a handset or package that allows them to use it, or people might struggle to connect to public networks. It is 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 Wi-Fi 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.
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 do not need a broadband connection in the same way indoor boosters do.
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 will need to bear in mind.
Article originally produced and reprinted from Ofcom website: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/advice/improving-indoor-coverage