MPs are calling for network roaming in the UK in areas where mobile phone coverage is not good.

The British Infrastructure Group stated in a report that foreigners visiting the UK are able to get better reception than residents in most areas, as they can roam between mobile networks and pick up the strongest signal. The report suggests that there are around 17 million customers who have an issue with mobile reception while they are at home, and it also includes the details of 525 areas that have no coverage at all. However, mobile providers say that they are working to achieve better coverage.

Network roaming lets users connect to a signal offered by another service provider if their own provider cannot be accessed in a certain area. The British Infrastructure Group has asked for roaming to be made available to UK residents, who are currently tied to a single mobile provider. If carried out, the group’s suggestions mean that it will cost less for users to change providers and make it easier to identify the worst-performing companies.

The report also states that coverage has not changed a great deal over the last two years even though the Government put a large-scale investment deal together with the network providers. The deal is expected to miss its set target of 90 per cent UK coverage by the end of next year.

MP Grant Shapps, British Infrastructure Group Chairman, said that the current situation is unacceptable. Mr Shapps stated that while he was campaigning at the last election, he opted for a foreign SIM card so that he could connect to more networks. This route could work out well for the average UK mobile user, although the cost could be much higher than that of standard calls.