It's incredibly frustrating when you're trying to make a call, and you find that you don't have any signal bars. Most people hold their phone up to the sky in Lion King style, but this isn't guaranteed to give you a much-needed signal boost.
Rural areas tend to have poorer signals than cities and towns because there are fewer cellular towers. Scotland, Wales, and the northeast of England in particular, have lower 4G landmass coverage as they have a higher proportion of rural areas.
As the majority of the country relies on mobile phones to keep in contact, it's more important now than ever to make sure you have good reception and can make and receive calls whenever and wherever you like.
In this guide, we'll look at why the network signal to your mobile phone might be poor and the various ways that you can try to improve it.
There are various ways that you can boost your signal at home if you typically have poor mobile coverage. You may have a poor signal due to a simple reason, such as your hand blocking your device's antennae. If this is the case, all you have to do is hold your phone in a different way so that your signal isn't blocked.
Some regions have poor signal because they are remote and aren't close to a cellular tower. You could try to improve the signal to your phone by connecting to a femtocell. Another good option is to use Wi-Fi calling if you have a strong broadband connection.
It's advisable to check what your signal is like outside your home. If you have a good connection outside but not inside, you may want to consider making phone calls near a window or installing a signal booster to amplify the connection inside your house.
Continue reading to find out how you can boost your mobile reception at home so that you can make and receive good-quality phone calls.
Below are some techniques and tools you can use to try and improve your mobile phone reception at home.
Turn Airplane mode on and off
Your mobile phone often holds onto an old network availability rather than checking for new networks to conserve battery life. This means that when you travel, your phone won't necessarily connect to closer networks with a better signal. You can turn your phone's Airplane mode on and back off again to encourage your phone to connect to a closer network.
Airplane mode on Android and iPhone devices can usually be found when you swipe down from the top of your screen. This brings up the Control Centre or Quick Settings (depending on your device), which has a toggle you can tap to turn Airplane mode on and off.
Move to higher ground
It's better to try and get as high as possible to remove the number of obstructions that could stop your phone from finding a signal. You should try and go to the highest floor in your house and avoid rooms with thick walls.
It might also help if you go outside, as this stops ceilings and walls from blocking the signal. You could try to climb a tree or hill to get as high as possible. You could also try lifting your arms and moving your phone in a bid to find a good signal for your phone.
Get a new SIM
If you've had the same SIM card for a long time, it may not have the right data to connect with the updated networks. You should contact your network provider and ask to be given a new, updated SIM because you are experiencing network problems. They should send you a new one for free.
Alternatively, the SIM may have become dirty, which is preventing it from working properly. You can take it out and try cleaning it with a soft cloth or disinfectant wipe to clear away any grit or marks. This is a good time to check whether the card has worn down, as this could also be a reason why it's not working as well as it should.
Hold your phone the right way
Old mobile phones had large antennas that protruded from the top of the phone. Most modern phones have antennas on the inside of the device, but this can mean you are accidentally blocking the signal if your hand is covering the antenna.
You should hold your phone vertically with two fingers, applying minimal pressure. If the signal is still weak, you could try holding your phone with your fingertips positioned at the bottom of the device. You could also try using Bluetooth earphones and placing the phone down on a surface so that you aren't blocking the antennae with your hands.
Charge your phone
Your mobile phone uses its battery when it is trying to connect to a network signal. If your device's battery is running low, your phone will struggle to locate a good signal, which will cause a bad connection. It's a good idea to make sure your phone is properly charged before you try to make any phone calls or send texts. This ensures your phone has enough charge to connect to a nearby network system.
You can try to conserve battery life by turning down the brightness setting on your phone. It's also helpful to turn off your Bluetooth and NFC as these can also drain your phone's battery. Turning off unused applications can also help, as can turning off push notifications. You should also avoid placing your phone in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures as these can also affect your device's ability to conserve battery.
Move away from busy areas
When you're surrounded by other people who are also trying to connect to a network, you may find that you struggle to get a good signal. Your devices will be trying to connect to the same cell tower, and the system will get overwhelmed and can't function properly. This often happens if you live in a city and are surrounded by lots of other households who are using their mobile phones.
It's a good idea to try and find a more secluded area or ask the other people in your household to temporarily stop using their phones so that you can try and find a connection. You may have to travel a bit further away to an area that has fewer people and is closer to a nearby cell tower.
Femtocells are small, low-range, low-power cellular base stations. They can convert your internet connection into a phone signal. These stations can provide good network connections in areas that would otherwise have a very poor signal (such as remote areas that aren't near cellular towers). You can connect your mobile network to a femtocell through a DSL or a cable.
Mobile providers often offer their customers femtocell connections for free. However, they only work on mobile phones that use the same network. This means that if you have family members or housemates that use a different mobile network provider, they won't be able to use the same femtocell connection as you.
These base stations have reduced transmitter-receiver distance, which means mobile phones don't have to use as much power to stay connected. Devices, therefore, have a longer battery life because they aren't trying as hard to seek out the signal and maintain the connection.
Change network mode
Some newer phones automatically connect to 5G networks because they are newer and more advanced than 3G and 4G networks. This will happen even if the 5G network is the furthest away and only provides a poor phone signal. You may end up with a weak signal, even if there are 4G networks that are nearer and have a stronger signal than the 5G network.
Luckily, you should be able to change your network settings so that you connect to the stronger network rather than the most advanced one. On iPhones and Android devices, you need to go to your Settings. On an iPhone, you'll need to tap Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice & Data. You should then be able to choose whether your device connects to 5G On, 5G Auto, or LTE (4G). On an Android device, you'll find a section called Connections or Wi-Fi and Internet in your Settings. From here, you should be able to choose whether your phone connects to a 5G, 4G, 3G, or 2G network (whichever one is stronger).
Use a signal booster
As the name suggests, signal boosters can increase your device's signal and produce a stronger reception. If you have one fitted inside your house, you should have a consistent signal no matter which room you try to make a phone call or send a text message in. Although a mobile phone signal booster can help to improve your mobile signal, they don't always improve call quality.
Signal boosters receive signals from nearby cellular towers and amplify them within the house. You may have an antenna fitted to the outside of your home to pick up the cellular signals. The antennae will then transmit the signal to the mobile phone amplifier, which can be picked up by your mobile phone.
Connect to a Wi-Fi network
If you've got a poor indoor mobile signal, you might want to consider using your Wi-Fi network instead. Your home network should allow you to make and receive calls on your connected mobile phone using the Wi-Fi calling feature. A strong and stable broadband connection will improve your mobile network signal.
Wi-Fi calling allows you to make phone calls using your internet network rather than using your 4G or 5G mobile signal. You may need to contact your mobile phone provider to use the service, along with whether you can send text messages. Calls made through Wi-Fi calling are typically charged at the same rate as your usual minutes' allowance.
Reception is usually better if you go to the upper floors of your house as there are fewer obstructions to the signal. You could also briefly put your phone into Airplane mode and turn it off again to encourage your device to reconnect to a new and stronger network.
Some newer devices automatically connect to 5G networks, even if they have a poor signal. You can go into your phone's settings and adjust the connection so that your phone connects to nearby signals instead, even if they have are 3G or 4G instead.
If in doubt, it's advisable to contact mobile providers if you are experiencing issues with your network connection. They should be able to offer suggestions to help give you an improved cellular signal, such as a replacement SIM card or a femtocell connection.