Why do I get French mo­bile sig­nals in Deal?

The Guardian - G2 - - Notes And Queries -

When­ever we go for walks on the cliffs be­tween Dover and Deal our phones as­sume we are in France and switch to French time. Why are mo­bile phone sig­nals from France, 26 miles away, stronger than Uk-based sig­nals?

Be­cause the phone sig­nal is unob­structed across the sea, un­like across the land, where the ter­rain and build­ings can dis­rupt it. David Jack­son

The UK net­works don’t cover the area prop­erly as there are hills in the way and there is lit­tle busi­ness case for the mo­bile com­pa­nies to cover it be­cause not many peo­ple live there. Dover is the near­est big town, but the cen­tre is at the bottom of the cliffs, so the sig­nals don’t prop­a­gate through the chalk to St Mar­garet’s, North Fore­land, etc.

The French net­works cover the area as you have line of sight and sig­nal di­rect to mul­ti­ple cell sites in Dunkirk, Calais and Grav­e­lines. Your phone chooses any net­work it can reach, so will choose those. You will prob­a­bly find the sig­nal isn’t good enough to make a call, but text mes­sages get through. Rus­sian Trac­tors

Bri­tish masts are typ­i­cally 50ft tall, com­pared to 80ft in Europe and even higher in moun­tain­ous re­gions. dis­cuz

Plan­ning re­straints are the rea­son for smaller masts in the UK. The phone com­pa­nies would dearly love to build big­ger masts, but author­ity re­stric­tions (es­pe­cially parish coun­cils) block ap­pli­ca­tions for larger masts that would pro­vide broader cover. This is one of the rea­sons why ru­ral ar­eas have such poor cov­er­age and prob­a­bly why the coast around Dover and Deal do also. I won­der if such re­straints ex­ist in France? Prob­a­bly not. feefleur

It isn’t the height of the masts, it is the wave­band used by the mo­bile op­er­a­tors that gov­erns the dis­tance the sig­nal trav­els. Most mod­ern hand­sets are de­signed to use sev­eral wave­bands. The lower end fre­quen­cies are bet­ter for high sig­nal strength that trav­els fur­ther and can pen­e­trate build­ings, while higher fre­quen­cies are bet­ter for high-speed con­nec­tions but pro­vide weaker sig­nals. Most French mo­bile com­pa­nies run their 3G sig­nals at the lower end, hence you can pick them up in Dover, whereas in the UK they tend to use higher fre­quency for speed. pad­dy­dog

Be­cause of the EU laws of physics! When we have only Bri­tish laws of physics, the French ra­di­a­tions won’t be al­lowed to reach the beau­ti­ful white cliffs. Loguc13

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