MPs urge action on mobile coverage ‘not-spot’ areas

Mobile phone signal in the UK is so poor that foreign visitors will often enjoy better coverage than locals.

Mobile phone signal in the UK is so poor that foreign visitors will often enjoy better coverage than locals – despite billions of pounds of investment in communication networks.

A report by MPs reveals that coverage has not improved significantly since 2014, when the then-government agreed to a £5 billion deal with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

The agreement pledged that mobile coverage would be given to 90% of the UK’s geographic area by December 2017.

British Infrastructure Group chairman Grant Shapps.
British Infrastructure Group chairman Grant Shapps. Credit: PA

But that target is expected to fall short, with at least 525 so-called “not-spot” areas around the country, according to the British Infrastructure Group (BIG) of backbench MPs.

Group chairman Grant Shapps said: “It is unacceptable that areas in Britain continue to have such poor mobile connectivity, and that overseas visitors can expect better mobile coverage than Britons stuck with a single provider.

“The time for excuses from the mobile sector is over. The Government must make a better call for Britain and bring national mobile coverage policy into the 21st century.”

The former prime minister said he struggled to find phone coverage in Cornwall.
The former prime minister said he struggled to find phone coverage in Cornwall. Credit: PA

David Cameron argued that the country should improve connectivity when he described the difficulty taking calls while in Cornwall.

He told the Western Morning News: “It’s not good enough to say here’s the mobile coverage for the whole country.

“You have got to recognise a lot of people are making important calls while they are on the move.”

The BIG report calls on the government to request an interim update from mobile operators about how close they are to their December 2017 coverage goals, and also plans to protect consumers.

The report states: “Consumers are at risk from being hit with large exit fees if they decide to terminate their contract, even if it is due to poor quality mobile service.

“BIG argues that Ofcom should establish a Minimum Service Obligation to define consumer rights. If an MNO fails to deliver a high standard of service, consumers should be able to terminate their contract free of charge.

“These reforms should now be included in the Digital Economy Bill.”

[Source:-I tv News]