An introduction to signal.
We say that your mobile phone or dongle ‘has signal’ when it’s within the range of one of Three’s masts, also known as cell sites or base stations. Those masts are used to carry calls, texts and data on Three’s 3G network.
Understanding what affects your signal.
In general, the nearer to a mast you are, the better reception you'll get. When you’re not close enough to a mast, or when something’s blocking it (like trees, hills or concrete walls), your signal will be reduced. You might say that you’ve got ‘no reception’ or you’re ‘out of range’.
Take a look at the coverage bars on your phone, or on your Mobile Broadband dashboard. The more bars you see, the stronger the signal. A strong signal means faster, more reliable internet access, calls that are less likely to cut out, and better call quality.
We’re working to improve signal strength across the UK.
Three’s network improvements have been focused on building more masts and improving the range of these masts. This means that more Three customers in more places have better coverage when calling, texting and using the mobile internet with Three.
Mobile Broadband speeds on Three.
Speed starts to become important when we're talking about using the internet over a Mobile Broadband connection. Typical speeds will vary according to your signal strength, in line with the factors we mentioned above.
The speed you can connect at is also affected by how many other people are using the mast you're connected to, and weather conditions such as snow or heavy rain. If you're interested in the numbers, you can find out more about the
speeds you can expect on our network here.
We’re improving Mobile Broadband speeds with HSPA+.
When you’re using the internet on a dongle or mobile Wi-Fi, you can now get faster downloads, page load times and better video streaming thanks to HSPA+.
We’re currently working on upgrading our network and rolling this new technology out across the UK. This means you can get speeds up to 40% faster when you use an HSPA+ enabled device like our Standard dongle , Premium dongle or MiFi.
Identifying problems with coverage, speed and signal.
When your phone signal is poor, you might get interruptions to your call, or it might end unexpectedly. If you have no signal at all, you won’t be able to make calls, send texts or access the internet on your phone. Read more about how to improve your phone reception here.
When your Mobile Broadband signal is poor, you might notice web pages loading slowly or timing out. If you’re experiencing slow speeds, this might be because of the coverage in your area, the building you’re in, high traffic or bad weather conditions. Read more about what you can do to improve your Mobile Broadband reception here.
You can also report a problem with the network online, use our coverage checker tool to check indoor and outdoor network coverage near you, or tweet @ThreeUKSupport to ask us about issues and maintenance that might be affecting you.