We check the local schools out, we check the transport links out, we even check the local pub out…but how many of us would check out mobile phone coverage when we’re thinking of buying or renting a home?
A survey of over 2000 UK consumers, carried out by professional network testing company RootMetrics, shows that 54% of us would be put off buying a home (46% for renting) if we knew mobile coverage at the property was poor.
“The findings clearly show that mobile phone coverage can have an impact on house buyers and renters,” says RootMetrics CEO and President Bill Moore. “While there are obviously more important considerations when it comes to weighing the pros and cons of a house move, there’s no doubt that mobile phone coverage is becoming a factor in the decision making process.”
Mobile coverage in the home is definitely an issue that chimes with UK consumers. 64% of Brits have experienced recurring problems with mobile phone service at a house they have lived at. Of that group, 86% have experienced issues with signal strength, 44% with call quality and 32% have had problems with slow mobile internet. With the percentage of homes without a landline increasing year-on-year, good mobile call and Internet coverage will become more of a deal breaker for buyers and renters, especially younger generations such as students who have grown up with mobiles.
RootMetrics gives UK house hunters and house sellers the ability to check mobile signal quality and internet speed for any home in the UK using a free testing application for iPhones and Android devices. It also offers free crowd-sourced on-line maps where buyers can check other users’ results across all of the major UK mobile phone networks, including EE’s new 4G service.
Commenting on the findings TV property expert Sofie Allsopp, says: “With falling prices everywhere except London, it’s becoming a buyers’ market, so it’s vital to ensure a home ticks all the boxes for house hunters. Decent mobile phone coverage is clearly on the check-list and buyers should test their home. If the signal is good, tell their estate agent, if it’s poor, tell their mobile phone company!”
Adds Lawrence Hall of property website Zoopla.co.uk: “Knowing what the mobile service might be like at a property is useful additional information for the buyer, seller, renter or landlord. At the end of the day, mobile phone coverage will not be the deciding factor on a dream home, but having advance knowledge of coverage by operator is extremely helpful.”
The study also found that over 80% of us would think about changing mobile phone company due to poor coverage at a property they were thinking of renting or buying. Over 70% have thought about changing provider while at their current home.
Interestingly, having a clear understanding of what mobile network offered the best levels of coverage and internet speeds was the most important factor for people thinking of switching. 75% of Brits put this as their number one factor with incentives such as discounted tariffs, free cinema tickets and other sorts of promotions a distant second and third. This shows that British consumers really are starting to take mobile phone and internet service seriously.
The findings come at a time when mobile is starting to replace fixed line in the home. Research from Ofcom in July 2012 shows that calls from landlines have fallen more than 10 per cent since 2011 and by the end of the year, 15 per cent of homes in the UK will be mobile only. More recently a study by research company fast.MAP revealed that 37 per cent of UK consumers would be willing to give up their landlines. With the reliance on mobile getting ever greater, the importance of having a good service at home will only increase.