What should I know about mobile coverage? | ACMA

What should I know about mobile coverage?

Mobile coverage depends on several factors, such as technology, radio frequency and the presence of hills or buildings. Some frequencies provide better regional coverage, while other frequencies penetrate better through obstacles, such as tall buildings.

For new mobile service users

In choosing a mobile carrier, you should consider network coverage along with other factors such as price, contract length, customer service or your particular needs.

You should discuss your needs with the service providers. A key issue is about where you intend to mostly use your mobile phone - is it in rural or metropolitan areas?

Each service provider must provide relevant information about coverage on request in order to allow you to assess the suitability of its offer against your needs. This information should include:

  1. the extent of the network’s coverage in Australia, which may include a map or diagram

  2. the technologies it offers to meet your coverage needs

  3. any known limitations about the network coverage

You could also talk to your friends about their experience of different mobile service providers and check relevant coverage information from other sources, such as Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) complaint reports.

For current mobile service users

If you are experiencing a mobile coverage problem, there are two steps you can take.

Firstly, talk to your service provider about your coverage problem. Depending on the circumstances, options may include:

  1. changing the handset or

  2. installing external antennas

  3. installing an authorized mobile phone repeater: Note, your carrier must authorize the operation of this device, and not a third party company. Using an unauthorized repeater is illegal.

  4. installing a femtocell: a small, low-powered device that uses a fixed broadband connection to improve 3G reception in a home or business premise.

If you feel you have been given incorrect information about network coverage by your service provider or your service provider has failed to explain known limitations in response to reasonable information from you about your intended use of the service, you may be able to receive compensation or be allowed to terminate your contract.

If you are dissatisfied with your service provider’s response, you may make a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

Last updated: 15 September 2016