It can be really frustrating trying to make a phone call or get on the internet on your phone and not being able to do so. These days we fork out hundreds for our smartphones and tablets. The latest models like the Nokia Lumia 920, the Sony Xperia Z, the Google Nexus 4, the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 are all amazing pieces of technology.
So how do we get the most out of these handset devices and out of our tablets and laptops on mobile broadband?
This guide will take you through some tips for maximizing your coverage and ensuring that you get the right provider for your specific location and requirement.
Research before You Purchase
Before you go out and buy your phone or broadband, it’s important to do a bit of research. Talk to your friends, colleagues, and neighbours about how they find their provider in your area. Have they been able to get online? Can they take and make calls properly? And how is the quality of the coverage in general?
Use the Internet
On the internet you’ll find coverage checkers that provide the opportunity to add your home or work postcode and find out what level of coverage you are likely to achieve. You won’t get a perfect measure of the speed of broadband or the quality of phone calls but you’ll get a good idea as to the amount of coverage that different providers have in your area.
Get Expert Advice
When choosing your mobile broadband provider, it’s well worth asking for advice from the people in the store. Some receivers are better than others and the same rings true of mobile phones with some smartphones much better at receiving broadband signals than others.
Do a Test
Nowadays it’s possible to buy sim-only contracts or pay as you go sim cards with which you can test coverage in your area. If you’re making a significant purchase such as a 24-month mobile broadband contract with a tablet, then you’ll want to know that it works. Doing a test for a few weeks with your cheap sim card can give you a measure of confidence.
Is there a Coverage Guarantee?
Some operators provide a coverage guarantee period. If you are unable to get the level of coverage that you require then you can cancel the contract and return the devices you received. Check if the operators you’re looking at provide this service. If they do, then try them.
Maximizing Broadband Signal in Your Car
Of course it’s illegal to talk or browse the internet while driving. However, when you’re stationary, the car can be your office. Many of us spend a lot of time on the road and a lot of time in our cars. Being able to get the maximum internet possible on our phones and mobile devices can be really important. To this end, many modern cars have antennae built-in in order to make our phones and tablets and even laptops more effective. These can be connected via Bluetooth in order to maximize the efficiency of our internet experience. They can also, of course, help with phone calls.
Using Multiple Sim Cards
Sometimes we spend time in locations that we struggle to get service. Whether we have a tablet or get online on our phones, it is possible to use more than one sim card in order to maximize our coverage in different areas. These days, there are dual sim phones, and with tablets it’s possible to simply pop out the sim and pop in a fresh one when you’re in an area where you need a different operator to achieve coverage.
With mobile devices, you often have to open up the dongle in order to get the sim card out and obviously running two contracts may be prohibitively expensive. However, it may be that you want one main contract and then a backup pay-as-you-go sim or that broadband is important enough in both locations to necessitate more than one contract.
If you travelled to some of the most remote corners of Britain, then it may be you can't get any coverage whatsoever. In these situations, a satellite phone may be the only option to get online and also take your calls. These can be expensive with satellite phones costing anywhere from £300 and higher.
It’s Down to Priorities
It really is down to your priorities what technology you use to maximize your coverage in the different locations you find yourself. If it’s really important that you can send e-mail, get online, and share files, then there are solutions available to make it possible wherever you are in the UK.
If you are a personal consumer at home, you might be able to get away with using your broadband fixed line. It’s even possible to use devices in your home to improve your telephone signal by amplifying it with a small device called a ‘femtocell’. Vodafone offers a sure signal option and Three has their home signal that piggy backs on their broadband to offer the improved connectivity that users need. In some mobile phones such as Blackberry, there is universal mobile access which utilizes a WiFi signal to connect to the mobile operator’s network through the broadband signal.
Maximizing your ability to connect to the internet on the move is all about making good decisions and maximizing your budget. The technology is out there and it just comes down to you getting the right advice, selecting the right operators, and you can be online on your phones, your tablets, and your laptops anywhere you want.
Don’t just jump in with both feet assuming that all mobile operators are equal, they are not!
MiFi - Broadband on the Move
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(price as of Feb 26, 2016)