Why can’t I get good mobile signal in my apartment building?

Mobile Telcom Insight Pic

Today we rely upon technology so much for both our personal and professional lives. We have become so reliant upon our devices to both communicate with friends and family as well as carry out our work functions for our jobs and those who run businesses from home.

We live in an app-based world and this is obviously never going to go away, so the reliance upon our mobile phones will become greater as time progresses. The better the apps get, the more ‘stickability’ we have to our mobile devices.

I know of one of my clients does literally all of his business on his mobile phone – I am not kidding you – and he is a multi-millionaire. I personally think he’s a rare breed. I’m a bit of an old fashioned person myself, I like a good old computer and keyboard.

Stay with me though, as I have a massive top tip for you which I only recently found out from the mobile operators which may just be a life saver, literally…

As we all know, mobile phones can use Wi-Fi as well as the MNO’s (Mobile Network Operator) cellular network. Which is great when we are working from home as we can stream away on our mobile devices without any cost, as it is not eating into our ‘data allowance’.

But what happens when we are working from home and our broadband is really poor or there is an outage on the broadband like Sky had recently – how will that affect you?

You can use your mobile phone as an ‘access point’ which allows you to connect your computer to your ‘personal hotspot’ if you have a decent signal in your home. But what if you don’t have decent signal? You now have zero connectivity in your home.

Before we discuss solutions, let’s talk about why you have a poor mobile signal

If you live in an apartment block that is between 5 and 10 years old, it’s highly like you will have materials in your building that make the building energy efficient. The biggest blocker to an external mobile signal is e-glass in the windows of your building.

This is the modern glass used in construction today that keeps energy in the building by ‘bouncing’ the heat off the glass and keeping it within the building to achieve a good energy rating.

The effect of this is that even if you live in an area with great mobile signal, the signal from the outside bounces off the same materials and struggles to get inside your home. This is just physics. The only way to get a decent mobile signal into the building is to bring it inside with certain solutions.

One of our major concerns today is if a building’s internet goes down and there’s an emergency, how do you make a call from your home if you have no signal in the building?

So what can you do in an emergency?

Firstly, ask your landlord if they have any back-up on the internet service. It’s highly likely that they don’t, as this is very rare and costs extra, so landlords typically wont pay for it. As part of our services, we offer it at no extra cost as we believe it is the right thing to do as part of our duty of care to our clients and their residents so the broadband stays up 100% of the time.

Secondly, you can put an in-building mobile service in your building. There are four operators, but you don’t really need all four. This is where my top tip comes in. If you only have a single mobile network operator service in the building – let’s say it’s O2 and you are a Vodafone customer – if you need to make an emergency call in the building, the operators have agreements between each of them that a caller can use any other providers network when 999 is called.

So in this example, if there is no Vodafone signal nearby but there is an O2 signal, the Vodafone customer should still dial 999 even if it shows no signal as it will pick up the O2 network and make the call. This could be a life saver, so you will do well to remember this.

So, my advice to you is to look at having a single operator in your building, you don’t necessarily need all four operators if you are wanting to provide such a service for emergencies, but the lower cost route is to have a back-up on the internet service.

At ClearFibre, we can offer you both options and you can choose which is the best option for you and your building. Prices for an in-building mobile service starts at around £4 per home per month for a single operator, depending upon your building’s size.


Paul Eaton is chief commercial officer of ClearFibre, part of the Telcom Group. Please get in touch: paul.eaton@clearfibre.ukFollow us on LinkedIn

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