Britain’s mobile phone coverage still scandalous say MPs
The British Infrastructure Group of MPs is dedicated to championing better infrastructure across the United Kingdom and in their latest report say that the country’s mobile services are extortionately expensive, plagued with service outages and atrocious coverage.
“It is absurd that visitors to the UK receive better and broader mobile coverage, because foreign SIM cards enable roaming across national networks” which goes on to echo an eBay/YouGov survey from earlier this year.
Despite mobile network operators investing £5 billion to improve coverage, there has been no significant increase in coverage. The latest estimates suggest that 28% of all rural areas in the UK remain without coverage. Personally, if I drive North or South on the A34 in both directions there are spots where a mobile call will drop out. Most of the motorway network in the UK have very patchy 4G coverage (yes, there are such things as passengers) and much of rural Britain has no coverage at all.
There were 39.5 million 4G mobile subscriptions in the UK at the end of 2015. However, the average proportion of premises with 4G cover provided by all four mobile network operators was just 66.25%. Without roaming, British mobile users can only access 4G coverage 53% of the time says the report. Even worse, some mobile operators such as Three only provide 4G coverage to domestic consumers 43.7% of the time, leaving over half of their consumers without high-speed internet coverage. The solution is to allow national roaming would provide a solution by enabling mobile consumers to use different mobile operators when they do not receive signal from their primary provider.
The report makes pretty shocking reading especially when combined with the lack of broadband which still exists in many rural areas. Those that live in cities only have to worry about losing their mobile signal when they’re in the lift of an office block, those that live in rural areas may struggle to get any internet at all and even struggle just to make and receive phone calls.
The British Infrastructure Group argues that it is time to sort mobile coverage once and for all saying that The Digital Economy Bill represents a vision for a connected Britain, and its passage through Parliament must be prioritised.