Mobile phone coverage
11 November 2008
Switching mobile phone providers is easier than it's ever been but if you don't do your homework you could end up missing one vital ingredient - a signal.
The strength of a mobile signal varies depending on where you live and which provider you choose.
So, just because you enjoy a strong signal with your current provider doesn't mean that a competitor will necessarily provide the same coverage.
For example, if you want to use your phone to browse the internet or download music and videos, then you'll need to make sure there is a suitable 3G signal in your area.
Each of the five main mobile networks - Vodafone, Orange, O2, T-Mobile and 3 - have coverage checkers on their sites.
You simply enter your post code and they will show you what kind of coverage you can expect in your area.
This will include information on standard 2G coverage - suitable for calls and texts - as well as the 3G coverage needed for web services.
Tesco Mobile (uses the map of its partner O2)
As well as using these checkers, you can also ask friends and family in your area how they find the signal strength of the various networks.
Read more about switching mobile phone providers, including how to take your old number with you.