With satellites in near orbit in outer space and mobile towers the length and breadth of the country, 3G, 4G, 5G planned and wireless apps, you’d think it would be impossible not to get absolutely perfect mobile reception across the UK, Europe and America today.

Yet even Google are considering hot air balloons and drones to serve up better connectivity, offering internet and better mobile communications across Africa and other areas. Is it really a problem to get a good mobile signal in the UK? The answer is yes, everyday we experience ‘network missing’ low bars and crackly voice calls.


The reason this occurs is most objects get in the way of a clear signal. Buildings, people and urban areas such as cities prove very difficult to ensure mobile phones are always receiving a signal. It’s not only cement and brick, but other electronic equipment that can interfere. Have you ever heard your speakers broadcast a mobile signal?

Well microwaves, cordless phones, baby monitors and even the average home wifi router can also get in the way of a call or message getting through on time. Considering electricity is everywhere and that storms tend to knock out satellite televisions and even cable, mobile phone reception is just as much affected by weather as all of these.


Anyone who has watched a World War II film or has been a ham radio enthusiast knows that you can walk around with signal boosters in your backpack. But while that worked with the old analogue system it is quite illegal to buy a signal booster in the UK. Although in this case there is a work around.

Illegal Ways To Boost Your Signal - Not Recommended!

You can boost your mobile signal through illegal means and try your luck at avoiding an OFCOM fine of £5000. Most booster manufacturers claim they are exempt from the laws, however the only mobile signal boosters that are exempt are those supplied by networks directly. Orange, EE and Vodafone all sell signal boosters for hard to reach areas. These are illegal because they work on the same frequencies and can be shut down remotely if necessary.

Legal Ways To Boost Your Signal

UK networks also enable another way to combat poor signal reception and that’s to jump on the back of the network’s wifi connection. Dropping your call or message off at another tower so you can continue to talk with good reception. This is termed Unlicensed Mobile Access and is available as a product called ‘Signal Boost’ by the Orange network.

The problem with Signal Boost and so called Femtocell technology is its use of wifi and internet transacting. Obviously this is free. So in the end, your call has to be paid for and dropped off at a tower for full charging possibilities otherwise Vodafone, Orange and EE will just be another Skype.

All I wanted was signal on my phone!
“All I wanted was signal on my phone!”

It is in a network’s best interest to offer full UK signal coverage, though if you’re in a basement in the City of London or surrounded by high rise flats, or a in a cottage below a dense line of forest, the femtocell may be your only alternative. Though you can consider switching networks. Such is the individual network range in the UK, many jump on each other’s signal but the individual pays for one network access.

Consider getting a dual-sim phone? Your mobile phone can switch from network to network, either a home mobile phone sim or a work mobile sim for better connectivity. Many phones search for the same network automatically but you can change this in the settings. This is where a dual sim mobile phone will come in handy, but these are not as widely available as they are in Asia and other countries.

Your real investments are restricted to illegal signal boosters, legal network hardware, signal boxes and femtocell and two box signal repeaters and of course wifi riding. Though, for the latter, if you are already getting next to no mobile signal, the probability that you have no internet access is high.

Other Ways To Boost Your Mobile Signal

Are there other ways? While you can try wrapping foil around your head to talk to those voices you wish to hear; Or making a foil transmitter and attaching it to the antenna much like you would your tv’s aerial port, you’re probably best off talking to your network first for 4G LTE signal booster hardware.

Did You Know: Nomophobia?

Nomophobia: The fear of having no mobile phone signal; and being unable to make or receive phone calls.


Other options for improving phone signal

sarcasmIf you’re one of the few people in the UK who are not in the slightest concerned about radiation from mobile phone towers, you could petition for a mobile phone tower to be built on top of your block, house or on nearby land that you own. Though if any of the above fail to motivate you, moving and not working in certain locations may be beneficial!

If you are based in an urban area, consider getting planning permission to knock down Canary Wharf to ensure the signal gets through. Get your company or pub landlord to install Skype and allow free wifi within the entire building. Speak to The National Trust and ask them to sort out their coverage in the middle of nowhere. Lastly, turn off all your electrical equipment and hang out of a variety of windows to see which angle provides the best signal. Alternatively, get a landline.