Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Ofcom wants to map UK’s mobile coverage – but it needs your help

Ofcom is calling on Android users to help crowdsource a map of the UK’s mobile network coverage.

The regulating body wants the 20-million Android users nationwide to download an app that will automatically measure voice-call reliability, data speeds and signal strength. The research will form part of a detailed comparison study of telecoms operators in 2017.

There will be no app for iPhone users, however. This is due to the restrictions the phone places on apps running continuously in the background.

Watch: How to improve your Wi-Fi signal:

Related: How to get free Wi-Fi

An Ofcom representative believes that the research into the UK’s network coverage will help to “build an independent benchmark for both consumers and industry”, and that “it will help mobile customers make purchasing and switching decisions, and will be used to enhance Ofcom’s mobile coverage maps and consumer research”.

Despite the fact that the major mobile network coverage providers cover more than 99% of the UK, there are still “notspots”; these are areas of the country that are outside mobile coverage. The hope is that this type of research could help combat this problem. The majority of “notspots” tend to be in the countryside, but can be a problem in city centres too.

Related: 8 of the best SIM-only deals in the UK

Matthew Howett, an analyst with research company Ovum suggests that “notspots” are partly due to “arcane and outdated planning rules”. These make it more difficult for providers to repair and install masts.

Studies have also found that travellers are also significantly affected by poor coverage. The RAC foundation found that more than 4,500 miles of British roads currently have no coverage. Plus, past studies have found that the UK’s rail network suffers patchy signal too.

There is currently a bill passing through Parliament that’s aiming to make mast servicing easier, which should alleviate some issues caused by “notspots”.

Download the Ofcom app here

Watch: The Refresh – the best tech gossip every week

VI Video was already generated for this page.

Do you have issues with “notspots”? Let us know in the comments below.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.