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Lycamobile - Terrible Signal, Why?

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Been with Vodafone for over 20 years, but their deals just weren’t at all competitive on renewal. Saw Lycamobile had moved to EE (EE rural reception being good where I spends a lot of time, according to the various signal checkers) and offered a good deal - cancelled Vodafone contract, ported to Lycamobile SIM. 

The signal strength and reception is completely useless - phone has never once shown a 4G signal (I occasionally get LTE), even in Central London.  Some places where I should have a full 4G outdoor signal, I have no reception at all, which kills phone battery life. 

Lycamobile customer service is utterly, utterly appalling (if you actually get though) - after a lot of hassle, I’ve ordered a new SIM from them and transferred my number to it. This has made little, if any, difference - according to the signal checkers, I should currently have full 4G signal inside and out, but I have no signal whatsoever - voice nor data (and no wifi calling!). Phone signal/call quality is fine with a different network SIM; others on (proper) EE here have no problems. 

I would simply go elsewhere, but for some unexplained reason (excellent credit scores, flawless payment history), O2 just refused my online application for an £8/m SIM and I don’t want to do any further harm by making other applications. 

Can anyone suggest what could be wrong at Lycamobile’s end? 

Comments

  • ProDave
    ProDave Posts: 3,785 Forumite
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    This sounds EXACTLY like the issue I have with RWG, who also use the EE network.  And I am also rural.

    A phone with an EE sim here gets a good signal and all works.  My RWG phone gets no signal at home (until just a few days ago *)

    I drilled down into the technicalities of this some time ago and it is because it turns out in our rural setting the only signal received here from EE is on band 20.  That is the chunk of radio spectrum that used to be used for analogue television and has better coverage than some of the other frequency bands used by mobile networks.

    Now here is the thing, on EE your SIM only gives you access to band 20 if your package has VOLTE and WiFi calling enabled.

    At the moment, the only MVNO using the EE network that gives VOLTE and WiFi calling is 1P Mobile.  My phone with their SIM works fine at my house.

    And going back to my RWG phone, that has started working at my home now making me thing the RWG sim is now enabled for Band 20 making me think RWG are in the process of enabling VOLTE and WiFi Calling.

    I suggest you get a SIM from 1P Mobile and see if you get a signal at your house.  If you do, port your number to them. Don't port it until you are sure you get the coverage you want.  Or if you want a choice of provider wait a bit and see if RWG really are expanding their service.
  • ProDave
    ProDave Posts: 3,785 Forumite
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    Just to add, WiFi calling is now on my "must have" list so whenever I visit somewhere with poor reception I still have a working phone if I have a wifi network to connect to.
  • Melvyn
    Melvyn Posts: 44 Forumite
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    Thanks - the band selection is very interesting, I wonder how that could impact the awful signal I’m also getting in and around London. The strange thing is that when my phone is (randomly and occasionally) showing LTE reception in London, download speeds can actually be very good.

    WiFi calling - I read it was coming to Lycamobile after the EE switch, but I won’t hold my breath. One of those things that is actually a lot more useful than you think…

    The O2 credit rejection thing is exceptionally annoying given my credit score and perfect payment history - suspect I’ll have to do without WiFi calling and visual voicemail now. For about a hundred and fifty quid a year difference I should have just renewed with Vodafone!
  • ProDave
    ProDave Posts: 3,785 Forumite
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    edited 19 September 2023 at 4:24PM
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    Why not give 1PMobile a try first?

    Even in a built up area, if your service limits you to a subset of the different bands that they use, there will be areas where you get a poor signal.

    I wish it was as simple as "they use the EE network so should give the same coverage as EE" but unfortunately it is not.
  • Melvyn
    Melvyn Posts: 44 Forumite
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    I’ll certainly try a different MVNO (although the inclusive roaming was a big Lycamobile draw) - I only went with a reseller after reading (I think on the Ofcom site) that MVNO signal/reception levels were identical to the actual operator’s. Live and learn.
  • savergrant
    savergrant Posts: 1,183 Forumite
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    Melvyn said:
    Been with Vodafone for over 20 years, but their deals just weren’t at all competitive on renewal. Saw Lycamobile had moved to EE (EE rural reception being good where I spends a lot of time, according to the various signal checkers) and offered a good deal - cancelled Vodafone contract, ported to Lycamobile SIM. 

    The signal strength and reception is completely useless - phone has never once shown a 4G signal (I occasionally get LTE), even in Central London.  Some places where I should have a full 4G outdoor signal, I have no reception at all, which kills phone battery life. 

    Lycamobile customer service is utterly, utterly appalling (if you actually get though) - after a lot of hassle, I’ve ordered a new SIM from them and transferred my number to it. This has made little, if any, difference - according to the signal checkers, I should currently have full 4G signal inside and out, but I have no signal whatsoever - voice nor data (and no wifi calling!). Phone signal/call quality is fine with a different network SIM; others on (proper) EE here have no problems. 

    I would simply go elsewhere, but for some unexplained reason (excellent credit scores, flawless payment history), O2 just refused my online application for an £8/m SIM and I don’t want to do any further harm by making other applications. 

    Can anyone suggest what could be wrong at Lycamobile’s end? 
    As ProDave has said, budget operators may not have access to the full range of frequencies (although urban areas should get good coverage). However lyca described it as a major improvement to their service when they migrated all their customers from o2 to ee a few months ago, so they should have good access.
    If vodafone suited you then lebara could be the best option, their plans are recurring bundles so there is no credit check, if a payment fails your plan doesn't renew. That may also apply to other '1 month contracts' which are not in fact contracts.
    1pmobile could be worth a look as they have priority access to ee bands.
  • Cisco001
    Cisco001 Posts: 4,040 Forumite
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    You could try Lebara if you have good signal with vodafone.
  • Melvyn
    Melvyn Posts: 44 Forumite
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    As an aside, five weeks later there’s no sign of a hard search from O2 on my credit file and my score is unchanged - presumably there’s some sort of automated refusal/mismatch process based on the details entered on the web form. 
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