It has been revealed that the government wants to force mobile coverage improvements, perhaps by making providers share networks with rivals.
It is estimated that one-fifth of the country is affected by partial ‘notspots’, which is where there is coverage for some networks but not others; therefore, some people are left unable to use their mobile phones. One suggestion is that when signal is lost the network could transfer to a rival network; however, some industry experts do not believe that this is a viable solution. Talks have already been held with providers, but no solution has been reached. The current suggestions are purely focused on 2G services.
The industry has been given until 26th November to respond to the government’s suggestions; however, not all parts of the government are in agreement with the proposed changes. The Home Office, for example, is concerned about the changes making it harder to track down criminals and terrorists and has called for more research to be undertaken.
Mobile phone operators have suggested that the proposed changes would not be beneficial to the consumer and want to be able to install and share more masts.
A report from consumer watchdog Which? has suggested that 3G and 4G services are also patchy and has called for mobile phone companies to provide more information about their services before allowing customers to sign up with them. Vodafone has already agreed that there is a need for a standard across the industry to measure the performance of each network, although each company is investing in services to widen its provision.