Wednesday 20 November 2019

Bad reception? Try changing hand you hold your phone in

Stock photo
Stock photo
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Bad mobile reception? Ireland's top regulatory boss says we might be holding our phones wrong.

Comreg chairman Gerry Fahy says new tests reveal that your phone's reception can depend on which hand you use.

The agency is currently testing iPhones, Samsungs and other popular handsets in a bid to inform consumers which models give the best and worst reception.

"Our preliminary results indicate that the hand you hold your phone in makes a difference," said Mr Fahy.

"This is because your hand might be covering the antenna, which may be particularly good on one side or the other," he added.

The Comreg tests tally with other European research, he said.

Mr Fahy isn't the first telecoms figure to suggest holding a phone a different way. Former Apple boss Steve Jobs famously answered complaints about poor reception on the iPhone 4 by telling customers to "just avoid holding it that way".

"It continues generally to be an issue," said Mr Fahy. "These handsets are trying to do more things. So there's a bit of a technical compromise going on. Our tests will hopefully help to tell whether certain handsets improve or disprove your coverage on average."

He also said that the regulatory agency is preparing a new national coverage map that will show in more detail where mobile reception is.

"We'll publish this on the Comreg website," he said. "So someone will be able to check what reception is like from operator A, B, C and D in different locations."

However, he said that achieving 100pc geographical coverage from mobile networks may not be feasible.

"We're looking at this but 100pc geographic coverage is probably one of those things that, if it's to be delivered, probably needs some support from Government," he said. "It's a bit like the National Broadband Plan. There's a level of coverage that's commercially deliverable and then beyond that it's society's job to close that gap.

"I don't think that Comreg should be the arbiter of which element of geography is more important than others. If you can't achieve 100pc, what are the priorities? Is it the roads? The railways? The greenways? The industrial zones? Putting those in priority order would be an important piece of policy input. And I think it would be wrong for Comreg to make that choice. I think we need input on that choice."

Irish Independent

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