'Try before you buy' on mobile receptionMobile users should be able to test coverage

06 October 2009

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Ofcom says mobile phone users should be offered a 'try before you buy' get-out clause so they can test their mobile phone reception and check they are getting the coverage they need before signing up to a contract.

Poor mobile reception?

More than half of consumers say they have experienced difficulties with mobile reception and a third say this is a regular experience according to Ofcom. 

Good coverage depends of a variety of factors including where the phone is being used, the local landscape and the weather. The mobile handset you use may also have an effect. Which? rates phones for reception, so if you've had problems it might be worth checking out a Best Buy model in our latest Which? mobile phone review.

Mobile reception problems start at home

The Ofcom survey shows that reception, particularly at home, is more important than the cost of the phone, quality of customer service and the type of handset of offer when choosing a phone. Which? carries out a mobile provider customer satisfaction survey with results on network coverage, customer service and range of mobile handsets available. Check this out in the latest Which? best mobile provider review that covers all the biggest service providers including Orange, O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

Ofcom also found the most common problem for consumers is so called 'not-spots' where the user received no reception at all. A total of 36% of mobile users have experienced this, 18% regularly. This was followed by poor sound quality and text messages being delivered late, which were both experienced by 20% of users, 8% regularly. 

Ofcom try before you buy

Ofcom says mobile coverage is hugely important to consumers and it is essential mobile users are not trapped into a contract that doesn't give them the coverage they need. Ofcom wants to see providers offering consumers a 'try before you buy' clause that allows them to use their mobile and if they don't get coverage, then be able to take it back. 

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