Mobile coverage checkers
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.
Each of the mobile networks have coverage checkers on their sites.
These online tools that can give an indication of 2G (voice and text) and 3G (mobile broadband) coverage according to postcode.
You simply enter the postcodes of your home, office and anywhere else where you know you'll depend on good coverage. The site should then give you a guide as to what you can expect.
Mobile Network Coverage Checkers
Coverage checkers are a simplified view of predicted coverage in a given area.
They should therefore be used as a guide only and not a guarantee of actual signal coverage.
It is also important to note that operators display some information differently. For example, some coverage checkers show results for indoor and outdoor coverage, while some only show outdoor coverage
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.
Tesco Mobile coverage checker (uses the map of its partner O2)
Maximise your coverage
Ofcom has a guide which explains the practical steps you can take to maximise your mobile coverage.
It gives advice on what you should do before you buy your phone, such as checking on what the policy is should you want to return the handset.
Some operators have a network guarantee which allows customers to return a phone under certain circumstances if they are unable to get a signal. However, this varies by operator and retail outlet.
There is also advice on how you can improve mobile coverage indoors.