Mobile phones

Mobile coverage for Lymm keeps getting raised on social media.

 

As at Q2 2023 Lymm does not have 5G coverage on any network (you can get an occasional signal outdoors), though this should change 'soon', and given more masts will be required, likely will improve coverage for some. 

Broadly, mobile phone reception is similar on all networks - partly some of the limitations appear to be caused by masts sited to cover the motorways, with some of the sandstone around the area not helping much....

Medium term changes

All UK networks will be phasing out 3G & subesquently 2G Mobile services by 2033, with e.g. Vodafone phasing out 3G by end 2023. This should free up more of the radio spectrum for 4G / 5G services, though it's not clear if that will happen immediately or e.g. be subject to new spectrum auctions.

EE (BT) are turning off 3G from January 2024 (trialled in Warrington?!)

(note that switching off 3G networks will 'break' certain mobile devices; 2G switch off will take longer due to the number of appliances using it for low bandwidth applications).

Reception example

The reception in areas of Lymm is summarised by this (taken in Booths Hill area, indoors using a multinet SIM in a device that supports up to & including 4G), with the device located in a window:

2023.02 Booths Hill Mobile reception

(this is typical of Statham, where reception seems particularly poor).

Options

 If reception at home is key, there are some options: 

  • Enable WiFi calling if available - at the time of writing this is still limited to the main UK networks (O2, Vodafone, EE & Three); this should improve poor reception at home (assuming you've got decent WiFi / home broadband)
  • Try different mobile networks in the locations that matter - if you have a dual SIM phone then try a PAYG SIM in the second slot, see how visitors fare, check coverage maps (though Lymm seems to be tricky due to the geography)
  • Consider a different handset - some reviews do cover reception, generally newer handsets have improved reception.
  • Work out areas with best reception in your house - upstairs, front / back / side windows... The mast maps linked below may help identify your nearest mast / which mast(s) you typically connect to.
  • Consider moving from an MVNO (GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile, Lebara etc) to a parent network (O2, Vodafone etc) - there does not seem to be firm data on this, but lots of anecdotal evidence that the MVNO's can offer a degraded appearance or possibly not utilise all available frequencies on a particular mast (likely individual handset performance is more significant, including from the anecdotal evidence)
  • (dual SIM use tends to be a poor experience if you are expecting to correct poor coverage, though use cases may vary)
  • Multi-net SIMS are available, but costs are prohibitive for most, and the above recommendations will likely give more benefit.

 Note Android vs. iPhone distinction (though in this test both devices top end, large handsets with likely largest internal aerials available at present)

Analytic approach

 

Mobile Mast locations & coverage

If you really want to look at options, then there are in depth analytical aids at www.cellmapper.net - including mast locations, approximate mast coverage and the technical information for you to determine which mast your handset is currently connected to (note that Android handsets have the ability to show much more of this information that iOS, which restricts access to mobile / signal analytic data). You will need the 'cell ID' from your handset (below)

It can help to understand which mast(s) your phone connects to - phones can 'hang on' to a 'weak' signal, rather than roam to a stronger one - this could be useful at home; if your handset typically hangs onto a weaker signal this may be resolved by flicking the device to aeroplane mode, at which point it should connect to the stronger signal (if available!)

Determining cell ID from handset

More details on how to determine which mast (Cell ID) your handset is currently connected to at Wilson Amplifiers (as this is a US site, there's information on Mobile Signal Boosters, which are no longer available in the UK)

 

 

 

 

 

Changed
5 months ago