How do you check "frequency" on a prospective Mobile Phone?

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P0123
P0123 Posts: 75 Forumite
First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
I am due to buy a new phone, as my Apple iPhone is on it's way out. After a bit of "research", due to my major problem of bad reception/signal in my flat, (especially,) I understand that the best phones for "penetrating buildings" ae those on the lower frequencies, ie, 800 Mhz - 4g, or 900 Mhz - 3g.

However, in my search for a new phone, and reviews, I cannot find anything in their details regarding the frequency. How do I find this out before buying?!

(At present, my favourite (so far) is the Moto G5 (or G5 Plus, if it can be bought in the UK), but I cannot find anything in the specifications that I have seen as to the "frequency".)

Can anyone help, please?

(- and if you recommend a better phone, that's not too large, nor too expensive, that would be much appreciated, too!)

Many thanks.

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  • Ian011
    Ian011 Posts: 2,432 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    edited 3 April 2017 at 9:38AM
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    Websites such as gsmarena.com have detailed information on the various frequencies that particular phones cover. Once you are looking at the spec sheet for a particular phone, click 'expand' on the "Network - Technology" line.

    Decades ago, phones were single band. Networks in the UK used 900 and 1800 MHz. North America used 1900 MHz. Back in the days before internet access, phones covering these frequencies were known as single-band, dual-band, tri-band, depending on how many they covered.

    Vodafone and O2 used 900 MHz (GSM). Orange and T-Mobile (now EE) used 1800 MHz (PCN). If you put an O2 SIM in a single-band phone designed for Orange, you never ever got a signal. Three arrived later and they used 2300 MHz, yet another new band. The newer 4G systems add much complication with 800 MHz and others. Again, other parts of the world may use other frequencies.

    Nowadays, most phones cover a number of frequencies. However, most phones still don't cover every single frequency in use in every country of the world. Most phones only cover a specific selection and manufacturers often produce several variants that each cover a different selection for use in different parts of the world. This is why buying a cheap phone direct from the Far-East may yield an item that's a different variant and which is unusable here. The first iPhone with 4G could work only with Vodafone or O2, later versions work with any current UK network. Additional frequencies are being introduced. New phones will be needed to access those.

    However, your most important and first decision must be to choose which network to use. It sounds like you want to be on one that uses 800 or 900 MHz. There's a detailed list on Wikipedia showing which networks use which frequencies. Only after the decision on which network to use has been made can you move on to deciding which handset to get that will pick up their signal for voice service and for data access.
  • P0123
    P0123 Posts: 75 Forumite
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    Hi Ian

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    Yes, I had checked and, luckily, I am with GiffGaff (O2) and so I am covered by a suitable network.

    It's just checking the right phone that I can use now. (- and hopefully it's the Moto G5 or G5 Plus!).
  • Frozen_up_north
    Frozen_up_north Posts: 2,420 Forumite
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    Before you get your hopes up, beware that it also requires the local masts to carry the additional frequencies. Even if they do, none of the networks guarantee indoor coverage as they have no control over the materials used in buildings.

    You might also consider carefully testing other networks. They might share many sites, but not in every case. I am currently with Three, but tried a Vodafone SIM and found their coverage much worse in a couple of locations we regularly visit. It was nothing to do with frequency bands, as I expect my iPhone SE to have all those currently used by UK networks.
  • AndyPK
    AndyPK Posts: 4,241 Forumite
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    If your Iphone is unlocked, would be world getting some free (or 99p of ebay) sims to try out the signal. You never know it might actually be better where you want to use it.


    Get a see from EE or Asda.
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