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How to check the quality of your 4G, 3G, or 2G coverage quickly and accurately

With this article, you'll learn how to measure the quality of your mobile network connection from anywhere inside the UK. This information will come in handy for clients of all mobile carriers.

The better your mobile network coverage, the higher the quality of your calls, and the faster the speed of your mobile Internet. In a location with good coverage, all of the apps on your smartphone should operate as intended. With poor coverage, you might not be able to stream music or videos, send large files, or perform many other useful functions. In this article, you'll figure out how to check the quality of the mobile connection for iOS and Android phones from anywhere in the UK.

Two Ways of Checking the Quality of Your Mobile Connection

iPhone users should enter iOS Field Test mode by dialling and calling *3001#12345#*. In the top left corner of the screen, you'll see a number that represents the strength of your signal. The smaller it is, the better.

On an Android phone, navigate through to "Settings" > "About Phone" > "Status" > "Signal Strength". The screen will show two numbers. The first number indicates your phone signal strength.

Alternatively, you may want to install a profile app. It will show you not only the quality of the signal but also some other related data, such as phone type, IP, net type, data state, cell location, WLAN, and more. Plus, it will build informative charts that display the signal strength in real-time.

Now, let's focus on how to interpret the numbers.

  • 90+: poor. you'll be able to use only basic communication
  • 80-90: weak
  • 70-80: okay
  • 60-70: good
  • 50-60: very good
  • 40-50: excellent

The unit that is used to measure the strength of the signal is called dBm.

To improve the quality of your mobile network, some may try to move around the room, go outside or go upstairs. The quality of the signal depends on how close you are to a mobile communication tower. When the tower sends a signal to your device, it might "bump" into natural or manmade obstacles, such as hills or buildings. The fewer the obstacles, and the shorter the distance between your phone and the tower, the better the signal.

Can I Check My Future Network Coverage in Advance When Planning a Trip?

Before setting out on a trip, you can check 2G, 3G, or 4G coverage in any UK location. As for 5G, the map that shows its availability is constantly changing. Currently, this type of network is only available in the larger cities and towns across the UK, however, it is rapidly expanding.

To explain how you can check the network connection in any destination, let's consider the example of To The Moon Mobile.

  1. Visit the To The Moon Mobile site.
  2. Click the "Network Coverage Check" button that can be found in the top horizontal menu.
  3. A new page will open. In the empty field in the centre of the page, type in the name of your location or its postal code.
  4. Click the green "Search Now" button.
  5. The map in the lower right part of the page will change colour.

The brighter the colour in a particular area, the better the quality of your connection there will be. The map relies on the Google Maps layout, so you'll be able to check the names of the streets, zoom in, and even switch to satellite view.

By default, the system will show the quality of the 4G connection. To switch to 3G or 2G, use the buttons on the left side of the page. There, you'll also find brief explanations of the capabilities of these three standards. All of them allow you to go online but the speed of your connection might differ drastically.

The map is very comprehensive. If you have any questions, you can click the live chat icon on the right-hand side of the page. Friendly and competent operators will be happy to help. Unlike many other mobile carriers, To The Moon Mobile doesn't make its clients talk with chatbots. You'll be attended by live human specialists who won't keep you waiting for too long.

What Will Happen When 5G Becomes Commonplace?

To be able to use 5G, you should buy a phone that supports this standard. It's impossible to fine-tune a 4G device so that it enables you to use the 5G Internet.

If your phone supports 5G but you find yourself in a place where this network type is not available, your phone will automatically switch to 4G. And if 4G isn't available, be ready to use 3G or 2G. These network types don't cancel each other. Once a new one enters the market, the previous ones won't disappear, but fewer people will continue to use them. The older the network type, the smaller its audience.

According to a GSMA Intelligence report, in 2025, 59% of mobile users will still be on 4G which is an increase from 43% in 2018. Only 15% of users are expected to be on 5G by that time.

To face the necessity to switch to 3G, you'll probably need to travel far away from urban civilization. 4G covers over 90% of the UK territory — the exact number might vary depending on which operator you use. 4G was initially known as LTE and it arrived in the UK in 2012. It was rebranded as 4G to highlight the fact that it was a "next-generation standard", compared to 3G.

Conclusion

To check how well you're covered by 4G, 3G, or 2G, navigate to the settings of your device or install a profile app. To check the mobile network quality in any UK location, online maps will come in handy.

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