Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Signal Manoeuvre: Never Be Caught out by Indoor Blackspots Again

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Signal Manoeuvre: Never Be Caught out by Indoor Blackspots Again

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachael Sigee

INDOOR blackspots are the bane of London living. In theory we can have all and sundry delivered to our door, but if we can't get a signal what's the point? And that's if we can even get reception to make a phone call.

There's nothing more annoying than having settled on a pile of pillows only to find your sister's update on your niece and nephew has turned into garbled Klingon.

The options for finding a signal are limited, and often seem to include getting as high up as possible, but recommending we all dash up stepladders doesn't seem practical.

Last year, Three became the first network to offer a VoLTE service (meaning 4G calling), called 4G Super-Voice. In less techy terms, VoLTE allows signal to travel further into buildings, eliminating those weird Bermuda Triangles of no reception usually found in gyms, supermarkets and my bedroom. Last year it was estimated that 20 per cent of Brits have a mobile black hole at home.

Three enables VoLTE by using a lower frequency, 800 MHZ spectrum of shorter wavelengths.

Bryn Jones, Chief Technology Officer at Three explains: "If your neighbour is having a party and you are trying to sleep, the noise that you hear is the bass, which is low frequency. You cannot hear the singing voices because that's high frequency."

Even when your 4G data connection zips along, calls are generally made on 3G, which struggles deep inside buildings, but short wavelengths travel more easily through layers of building materials and insulation.

Carphone Warehouse's Geek Squad Agent Mark Lee says: "Your home is full of potential sources of interference, from microwaves and TVs to construction materials. Voice and data use different transmission protocols so they react differently to the different types of interference. …

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