Large parts of Britain still receiving inadequate mobile signal despite paying for a full service

( via – – Mon, 18 Dec 2017) London, Uk – –

Large parts of Britain are still receiving an inadequate mobile signal and “urgent and radical” action is needed to solve the problem, according to Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission.

Rural areas and those near railway lines were particularly affected despite customers paying for a full service, he said, something unacceptable “with mobile telecommunications now firmly established at the heart of modern society and the economy, and ubiquitous access to mobile networks increasingly viewed by consumers as a basic right”.

Less than half of the UK receives full 4G coverage from all four major mobile operators, while 30pc of the country cannot make reliable calls and send text messages with every big provider.

Network operators are expected to deliver coverage to 90pc of the country but research indicates they are achieving only around 80pc in practice.

“In an age when access to a mobile signal is regarded as a must-have, it is deplorable that even in areas previously considered to have strong coverage, operators are still delivering such poor services that customers can struggle to make a quick phone call,” Lord Adonis wrote to Ofcom’s chief executive, Sharon White.

“This new measure for coverage comes almost a year to the day after we first warned about the poor mobile signal communities can face, but now suggests the situation is even worse than we thought. It demonstrates the need for urgent and radical action to tackle this issue immediately, ahead of new mobile spectrum being auctioned and 5G technology being rolled out.”

Lord Adonis wants Ofcom to require mobile operators to give better ­geographic coverage as part of their ­licensing ­requirements, and to ramp up enforcement action.

“Given the legally binding nature of the agreement signed with network operators in 2014/15 I would expect ­Ofcom to consider all possible enforcement action against any operator which does not meet its obligation to provide coverage to 90pc of the UK’s land mass by the end of 2017, based on existing signal strength thresholds,” Lord Adonis wrote. He also called on the regulator to “urgently propose an action plan” to the Government.

Steve Unger, Ofcom’s chief technology officer, said: “We completely agree that mobile coverage must urgently improve, which will take concerted action from industry, government and the regulator.

“We’re playing our part by enforcing rules for better coverage, and preparing to set new rules in operators’ licences. We’re also boosting the capacity of mobile networks by releasing new airwaves, and helping to improve coverage on trains.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “There is a clear need for rapid improvement on mobile coverage. We’ve recently removed outdated restrictions, giving mobile operators more freedom to improve their networks including hard-to-reach rural areas.

“But industry need to play their part too through continued investment and improvement in their networks, making sure that customers are not paying for services they don’t receive.”