Recently ‘thumbing’ through the online Real Estate For Sale ads wasting a lazy half hour before my favourite TV cooking show started, I came across a lovely property described as having “Expansive views of the mountains and adjoining grazing land. Power and landline run through the property, and there is limited mobile signal.”
I can only guess that a limited signal is something of a bonus in Gloucester, NSW for it to appear in the highlights blurb, but the end result is that I swiped left. Unfortunately my average family of 2 parents with 2.2 actively social ‘screen’agers and our 4 mobile phones could not cope with anything less than 3 bars of signal!
A recent survey from the UK focusing on the home buyer’s wish list, found that faced with mobile signal quality issues 2% would walk away immediately and 13% would consider another property. If it was a property they loved, it’s good to know that a whopping 48% would consider switching mobile carriers. But there’s a barrier to sale if I ever heard one – “Look I love the property but I can’t put an offer in until my carrier can assure me they provide mobile coverage in this area.” And this presumes the buyer has options – in regional Australia there are not a lot of options!
But mobile coverage considerations aren’t just limited to properties for sale. The Queensland Government’s website providing tips on choosing a rental property has wisely added this question to their checklist for prospective renters – Does your mobile phone have reception inside the property?
So while the avocado bathroom suite in your house may send buyers and renters running, lack of mobile coverage will do exactly the same.
Mobile phone black spots are a huge issue for many communities. Not only is it a safety issue but it impacts on local economies too. According to the mobile coverage black spot map released by the Federal Government in late 2014, over 6,000 mobile black spots were reported with 2,000 locations in Victoria winning the unwanted award of most patchy coverage. This is followed by NSW reporting 1,800 black spots, Queensland with 900, WA with 500, SA with 450, Tasmania with 250 and NT having 25.
Mobile coverage is not just about lack of towers. When you have poor home mobile reception despite knowing that there is ample coverage outside, it is a clear indication that the house itself may be the culprit. The materials that insulate best and provide the most structural strength can often be the worst offenders causing reduced indoor coverage.
Housing materials that affect the indoor signal by reflecting and absorbing the Radio Frequency (RF) can include foil backed roof insulation, metal/Colorbond roofing, garage roller doors, concrete, brick and copper wiring.
And some of us who love “expansive views of the mountain” or yearn for a tree change, may have our mobile signal blocked by a mountain or two, or even a beautiful forest with a couple of hundred trees.
But thankfully, where there is a signal present outdoors, even if it doesn’t quite reach the inside of your property there may be a solution to resolve this type of black spot issue specifically for selling or renting your house.
When you live in a house, there are a number of options to assist your mobile coverage problems. These would include mobile broadband routers, Femtocells and mobile phone antennas all suitable to hook up and attach to the devices in your house resulting in a boost in your mobile signal and happy families all round.
Unfortunately these solutions are either limited to a solution per phone or can only be applied to pre-registered phones with the same carrier. They just don’t allow you to extend your signal to a casual house viewer looking to buy.
A Cel-Fi unit seems to be your only option in a sale/rental situation. Cel-Fi is a repeater solution approved by the carriers, designed to amplify the mobile signal from outside and disburse it within a home or office. It is a regulated product and I can confirm it is legal (a lot of illegal solutions seem to abound but I’m sure fines of $25,000 and a stint in jail as a purchaser is not a preferred outcome).
You would need to decide which carrier you want the boost from, as the units are carrier specific. As a general rule, the Telstra version should cover the majority of your viewers, particularly if you are in regional Australia where other carriers tend not to venture. But units are available that will cover Telstra, Optus and Vodafone (also covering the cheaper plans Amaysim, Aldi, Virgin, or Dodo).
You only need 1 bar of 3G signal for the Cel-Fi to provide indoor coverage. Where the signal is intermittent or even non-existent, it may still be possible to utilise the device with an external antenna and a cable running to the repeater unit.
The downside is the price. At around the $1000 mark the solution is not cheap. You will need to weigh up the cost of a hot spot versus a not spot with regards to selling or renting out your property.
And would you take it with you when you leave? The product is portable after all. Would that be misrepresentation? Now there’s a conundrum.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR SITUATION?
Cel-Fi is sold and installed by experienced Dealers all around Australia. To receive more information about this product and to find a knowledgeable dealer who can assist you with your own particular mobile coverage situation, just let us know your contact details below. We will have a local expert contact you to see if they can help you.
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