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1 in 20 Brits head to the loo for a better mobile signal

Tuesday, April 28th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Two thirds of Britons struggle to get mobile phone signal at home, with some getting their best reception in the loo, a new survey has found.

The research, commissioned by Panasonic, found that 66% of Brits experience difficulty getting mobile phone signal at home, causing more than a third to be cut off from an important call.

According to the poll, 63% of us have to go outside the house to get mobile reception – 32% admit to stepping out of the front or back door, while 31% go into the garden or onto the balcony.

27% of people press themselves against a window to get better signal, while 6% said they get their best reception in the toilet.

The poll, which surveyed 3,003 UK adults with a mobile and landline, found that Londoners are most affected by poor signal, with 73% experiencing signal problems.

68% of those in the south west said they suffered problems, while those in the north east (59%) and Scotland (60%) were least affected.

The government has taken steps to reduce the number of mobile not-spots – areas where there is little or no mobile signal – by setting up a binding deal with the four main operators, Vodafone, O2, Three and EE, who agreed to invest £5bn to improve coverage.

The four networks already meet a 3G coverage obligation to reach 90% of UK premises but the new agreement gives them two years to reach 90% of the country's landmass, improving the level of outdoor coverage.

Unreliable for calls

The Panasonic survey found that the issue of signal is causing people to lose faith in their mobiles – 36% said they consider their mobiles unreliable for calls where they might be on hold for a long time, such as calling utility providers.

26% said the same for making purchases over the phone, and 23% said they didn’t trust their mobiles when conducting telephone interviews or work calls at home.

They said they preferred to use a landline for calls expected to last slightly longer, such as calling utility providers (55%) and calling family members (48%).

61% said it is less stressful to make important calls from landlines rather than mobiles.

Of those, 62% said it is because the connection is more reliable, 49% said because the sound quality is clearer, and 49% said it was cheaper so they do not have to worry about the length of the call.

Those in Wales said they were most likely to worry about the cost of mobile calls, with 61% citing lower landline call costs as a factor that makes them less stressful.

The poll also found that 85% of Britons make sure their children know where the landline is in case of emergencies, while 72% made sure their children know the home phone number off-by-heart.

Helen Dixon, head of home phones at Panasonic, said: “What this research shows us is that we consider our landlines reliable; whether that’s for emergencies, work calls or waiting on hold.

“The benefits of modern home phones mean that the cost savings associated with using a landline rather than a mobile when at home are just an added bonus on top of consistent connectivity and clear conversations.”

Dropped calls

According to research published by Ofcom in August, almost a third of people (30%) in the UK said they suffered problems with mobile phone signal at least every week, while a fifth said they experienced blocked calls and dropped calls at least once a week.

The Panasonic survey comes after Cable.co.uk reported how a white paper published by internet provider Relish said that the home landline will be “virtually extinct” by 2025.

According to the document, which draws information from a variety of sources, the landline will be non-existent in the office of 2025 and virtually extinct in the home.

It said: “Since the introduction of mobile technology, businesses and homeowners have increasingly harnessed the opportunity to become more agile and flexible, and cut back on unnecessary costs.

“As a result, the need for landline telephones has dramatically declined.”

It cited a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which found that in the UK there had been a 33% decline in voice calls made from households’ landlines over the past five years.

The London-based company said recent research it had carried out revealed that one in four Britons did not know their own home phone number while half of Brits only keep their home phone so they can access the internet.

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