Mobile phone coverage: Your rights

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The Government is to invest up to £150 million to improve mobile coverage in the UK, the Chancellor announced.

The aim of the project, which will start in 2012, is to improve the coverage and quality of mobile services for the between 5% and 10% of consumers and businesses based in areas of the UK where mobile coverage remains poor or non-existent. But what are your rights if your mobile phone coverage lets you down?
A mobile phone is essentially only as good as the coverage it receives and if your coverage is poor your call quality and internet browsing experience can be awful or even non-existent.

What's more, while heavily populated areas generally have good coverage, some parts of the UK remain mobile service "dead zones".

Consequently, before choosing a mobile phone network you should check mobile phone coverage for where you are most likely to be using your mobile phone - especially if you live or work in a remote part of the country.

What determines the quality of mobile coverage?
Your mobile phone signal strength is determined by the distance you are from your network's nearest mobile phone network mast.

Your location is therefore very important when choosing a network because one network may be stronger than others in your area.

No one mobile phone network has the best mobile phone coverage across the country, but some are better in particular areas than others. That's why it is important to check a provider's coverage in your area before signing up to a contract.

What can I do if my coverage is poor?
If you have a complaint about coverage, your mobile network provider - be that Orange, O2, Vodafone or another company - should be your first port of call.

If, once you have completed its complaints procedure, you are still not happy about the way your complaint has been dealt with, you can then elevate it to either Ombudsman Services: Communications or Cisas.

Their adjudicators can award you up to £5,000 compensation if your complaint is upheld.
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