Poor indoor mobile coverage harming UK workers productivity

Poor indoor mobile connectivity is affecting the ability of British workers to do a good job.

A new report from Commscope claims that many workers often have to leave their workplace to get good reception, and is calling for operators and network providers to do more.

Commscope’s research found that half of UK workers have had to go out the door to get reception, while three quarters believe that inadequate signal is hampering their work and that good coverage is essential for their job. Two thirds believe this is also critical for attracting new employees.

This is despite the availability of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi. Most workers want to access over the top (OTT) services such as video streaming, social media and other mobile applications while they’re working and would prefer to do this from the comfort of their desk rather than heading out the door.


“Workplaces are transforming - from flexible working to a growing culture of hot-desking and shared office-space – and there is a clear requirement for the provision of cellular coverage to underpin productivity at work,” said Phil Sorsky, senior vice president of Service Providers International, CommScope.

There are regional variations too. Workers in London, Yorkshire and the west Midlands are happiest with their situation, with the North East and Wales the lest happy.

The authors have called for mobile operators to do more to densify their networks to support mobile broadband as well as new applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Small cells, femtocells and new low-level spectrum are all being deployed by the networks, but Commscope says there needs to be a collaborative approach.

“Achieving the goal of reliable indoor mobile coverage is a significant challenge for operators, especially when businesses are based in large and complex buildings,” continued Sorsky. “There is also an ongoing debate around whose responsibility it is to cater for the end-users; with mobile operators, building owners and facilities administrators all playing a role.”

“We believe that establishing a dialogue and collaborative culture between these parties is essential – as businesses will look elsewhere if they can’t get access to first class facilities, with wireless coverage, capacity and speed assured to enable productivity across their organisations.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.