"Customers want a mobile connection wherever they are, they want services to be good value, easy to use, and they want to know that their personal information is safe and secure."

Advice for Consumers

Customers want a mobile connection wherever they are, they want services to be good value, easy to use, and they want to know that their personal information is safe and secure.

Check your coverage

The UK’s Mobile operators, between them, invest between £2-3 billion pounds per annum in new capabilities, coverage and capacity.

All the mobile operators provide coverage checkers (indoor and outdoor) for the technologies they deploy (e.g. ‘4G’ [the fourth generation], a high speed voice and data service). Plug in the post code (s) in which you are interested and the coverage will be displayed

EE:
http://ee.co.uk/why-ee/network/mobile-coverage

O2:
http://www.o2.co.uk/coveragechecker

Three: http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Network/Coverage

Vodafone: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/explore/network/uk-coverage-map/

In addition, Ofcom compiles a composite, independent coverage checker for all networks: http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/check-coverage

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Get the best tariff

In the ten years up to 2015, mobile prices, in real terms, fell 66% [1]. Customers understandably want to know how to get the best deal.

Mobile operators will advise of your average usage, or you can use the Apps that each provide to manage your account.

This information can be used to discuss the best available tariff with your operator, or you can use an Ofcom approved Price Comparison web site. http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio/price-comparison/

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Protect against fraud

If you receive a message requesting personal or financial information such as personal security details, bank details or passwords, be aware it could be fraudulent. This is called phishing (or smishing).

What is phishing or smishing?

Phishing or smishing scams are emails, texts, voice calls or other messages made to look and sound like they've come from a trusted company and are designed to get hold of your personal information.

These messages can be very convincing and look or sound like genuine messages sent by organisations you already deal with, and may even appear within an existing message string from a known organisation.

3 signs a message might not be genuine:

  1. It asks you to provide sensitive personal or financial information, passwords, or to make transactions by following a link in the message.
  2. It asks you to call a certain number but that number is unknown to you. In this case, call your bank on a number that you trust to check the number and message is authentic. E.g. – such as the number on the back of your card.
  3. The sender uses an urgent tone, telling you to ‘act now’.

IMPORTANT: Mobile Phone Operators will never ask you for your PIN or password by text or email. What should you do if you think you’ve received a suspicious message?

  • Receiving a suspicious text, email or voice call will not harm you in anyway – harm can only come if you interact with it.
  • Don’t click on links unless you’re 100% sure they are genuine.
  • Take a moment to stop and think and trust your instincts. If it looks too good to be true or looks suspicious, there’s probably a catch.
  • Don’t give away any of your personal details.

How to report suspicious phishing messages

  • Forward a text message (including phone number or company name) to 7726 free of charge, so your mobile phone provider can investigate.
  • For emails, forward the message to the organisation that it claims to be from – you can look up the email address to send it to on that organisation’s website.
  • You can also report instances of spam to the Information Commissioner’s Office or by calling 0303 123 1113.
  • If you want to stop all unsolicited sales or marketing calls, call the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) on 0207 291 3320 or send a text message to 78070 (a small charge may apply).

For more information:

Find information about fraud and what to do from each mobile network Operator:

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Keep your data safe

Customers can also take steps to ensure that
personal information is protected

Top tips:

  1. Don’t reveal personal information, such mobile numbers and your address on the public areas of social networking sites
  2. Back-up regularly, so that you don’t lose valuable content, such as photographs, if your mobile is lost or damaged
  3. Never reveal any passwords or PINs when asked to do so by phone or by e-mail
  4. Make sure any Wi-fi network you use is secure (password protected)
  5. Use strong passwords, change them from time to time, and don’t tell anyone what they are.
  6. Do not open e-mails with unknown links or attachments (even from people you know). They may contain viruses or malware.

For more information go to:  https://www.getsafeonline.org/

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Protect your children

Mobile operators offer an Internet filters to protect customers under the age of 18 from age inappropriate content. The mobile operator sets its filter in accordance with a framework prepared by the British Board of Film Classification ("BBFC").

If you are passing an old mobile device to a child, remember to check that the content filter is in place.

The mobile operators, in partnership with the banking industry provide resource for schools that teach children how to protect themselves from bullying, identity theft and how to behave responsibly when first acquiring a mobile.  http://www.outofyourhands.com/

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Report a stolen mobile

If your mobile is stolen, always report it as soon as you can to your mobile operator. Providing the phone is reported promptly, your liability for unauthorised use is limited.

Your mobile operator will block your SIM card and ensure that the device cannot be used other UK networks.

Customers can also make use of the Immobilise database https://www.immobilise.com/

Customers can register any electronic device, so that, if the police recover your stolen goods, they will know how to contact you.

More information about how you can minimize the impact of loss or theft can be read here.

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Notes:
[1]
 Ofcom Communication Market Reports