I've spent some time recently musing over the pitfalls of changing broadband and mobile contracts. It's at times like these when you open yourself up to the vagaries of customer support from your friendly communications service provider. The fear that something will go horribly wrong, leaving you bereft of any service whatsoever, never quite goes away.
My tales of good and not-so-good customer support elicited a heartfelt response from one Germany-based consumer, who had to wait four weeks to get confirmation that it would be possible to get a broadband connection to the new house she was about to buy.
"The lawyers were standing by, all members of the chain were ready to exchange, and there we were, like lemons, waiting," she said.
That may be a story from 10 years ago, but it's of even more relevance today as increasingly more people rely on broadband access at home in order to be able to work or watch endless YouTube videos. If you knew that your lovely new home was never going to get ADSL or fibre access, or was in a huge mobile blackspot, would you buy it?
A new survey of UK residents commissioned by mobile analytics company RootMetrics suggests not. Indeed, the survey of just over 2,000 people found that a decent mobile signal is topping the list of priorities for 18-24 year-old property buyers in the UK.
In fact, the survey found that nearly half (45 per cent) of 18-35 year-olds rank a mobile signal as the most important consideration when buying a new property, followed by crime (21 per cent), transport links (18 per cent) and schools (17 per cent).
On average, nearly half of those surveyed (49 per cent) would reconsider buying or renting a home if they knew mobile coverage there was poor.
In a warning to mobile operators, 69 per cent of all homebuyers or renters--and 77 per cent of younger buyers--would consider changing their mobile provider if performance were poor at a new property.
"With so many people reliant on their smart phone devices for work, social media and keeping in contact with friends and family, it is no surprise it is the top factor in young people's wish list. Checking your mobile signal should become a routine action in every property you view, as a lack of phone signal could cause you a lot of hassle in the long run once you are living there," said David Cox, managing director the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
This "hassle" could include an inability to actually sell the property again, unless the situation improves! Perhaps soon the strength of mobile phone signals and the availability of high-speed broadband connectivity could be the first thing you see in the sales description of a house or flat for sale.--Anne