Mobile phone ‘blackspots’ could become a thing of the past

Having little or no signal on your mobile may become a distant memory as operators could be required to share their networks, it has been revealed.

UK ministers are currently contemplating a plan for ‘national roaming’ which would see all mobile phone operators forced to share networks in rural areas in an attempt to rid customers of ‘blackspots’, reports bbc.co.uk.

Many areas in the UK have only one or two main mobile networks available, and some have none at all, making it virtually impossible to conveniently send text messages or make calls. Sajid Javid, the new culture secretary, has said that national roaming will allow customers to switch networks according to whichever is available, just as you can when abroad.

Mobiles companies are predicted to argue against national roaming, insisting that a shared service will reduce the incentive to build new phone masts in remote areas, but existing legislation may force them to cooperate.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said: “We’re invested heavily to bring coverage to around 98 per cent of the population.

“The government has made clear it wants to ensure the UK has world-class mobile phone coverage as part of our investment in infrastructure for the long-term economic plan. We are investing up to £150 million to improve mobile coverage in areas where there is currently no coverage from any of the Mobile Network Operators.”

Towns surrounding the Forest of Dean, including Cinderford and Lydney, are badly affected by weak signal. One resident told southwestbusiness.co.uk: “I know if someone rings me I will not be able to hear them. If I send a text message I stand next to the back garden door and hang my phone out.”

Another local added: “I don’t think Gloucester can even get 4G in the best spots.”