Ask LH: Can I Cancel My Mobile Broadband If The Reception Sucks After I Move?

Ask LH: Can I Cancel My Mobile Broadband If The Reception Sucks After I Move?

Dear Lifehacker, What are my rights if I move house and my mobile broadband speed is severely impacted due to the new location? Am I left paying the contract for a device that is still useable, but getting virtually dial-up speeds? Thanks, Mr 56k

Remote internet picture from Shutterstock

Dear Mr 56k,

This can be pretty tricky to navigate, unfortunately. One of the chief caveats of broadband internet contracts is that they’re usually binding regardless of what life throws at you. When you entered into the agreement it was for the address you were living at — the telco can’t really be held liable if you decide to move.

That said, it never hurts to ask. Perhaps some kind of arrangement can be worked out, although I wouldn’t hold my breath. The next step is to look over your contract and see if it mentions anything about moving to a new address. (We’d be extremely surprised if they haven’t extensively covered themselves in this area though.)

If an agreement can’t be reached, you’re probably better off paying the cancellation fee than sticking with a service you’re not using. This can be quite costly, but it usually works out cheaper than paying the remainder of your contract. You can sometimes get the cancellation fee waived if you arrange to reconnect to the service at a later date.

Alternatively, you could try using an antenna which can improve mobile internet speeds in poor reception areas. Although to be honest, the difference is usually minimal. You might also be able to garner some relevant tips from our articles: Top 10 Ways To Boost Your Home Wi-Fi and How Can I Work Using A Slow Internet Connection?

If any readers have a suggestion of their own, let Mr 56k know in the comments section below.


Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact tab on the right.


  • Also, if your carrier has coverage maps on their website (like most do) and you can see that they have advertised good coverage in that area, but your experience is different, often they will do something just based on that. Even if it is just a fault logged to get that area “corrected”

  • You could also try contacting the TIO (telecommunications industry ombudsman) and making a complaint. Usually you can get out of your contract for free if the reception sucks.

    • I doubt TIO would be able to help in this instance: the service quality changed because of the actions of the customer. It’s certainly worth a try though.

      • If you are clearly in the coverage map and your getting bad reception sure as hell you can. If you move outside of the coverage zone that’s your own fault

        • My comment was in response to the customer moving to a new address. If the coverage map claims his new house should also be covered then yes, he has a good case.

  • I’ve had this problem at two locations with two carriers. After much pleading, technical support, TIO request etc, in both cases they let me out of my contract, and even let me keep my handset. This was a couple of years back though.

  • Optus told me a few years ago that they only guarantee coverage at the home address, so my poor coverage at uni meant nothing to them. They made it sound like if I had crap coverage at home that I’d be able to get out of my contract without a fee.

Log in to comment on this story!