Mobile blackspots, where users are unable to send texts, access the internet or make phone calls, could soon be a thing of the past if new legislation under consideration is passed.
The culture secretary, Sajid Javid, wants to force networks to share their networks, allowing its users to switch between them whenever they enter a blackspot. For example a Three customer’s phone might automatically switch to O2’s network when it detects there is no signal.
The government will begin a consultation on the idea, called ‘network roaming’, this week, reports telegraph.co.uk.
Although the four major mobile networks (Three, Vodafone, O2 and EE) were initially against the idea, they have failed to come up with an alternative solution for fixing the UK’s ‘partial not-spot’ problem, where reception is patchy and only one or two networks cover the area. These spots mean people are unable to send text messages and make phone calls because their network’s signal doesn’t stretch to that zone, even if there are other networks available.
A Whitehall source said: “We want to eradicate this situation of partial not-spots. There is expected to be a consultation in the coming days and this could include a legislative option. If these companies do not change, we might force them to change.”
Network roaming makes it possible for Brits travelling abroad to maintain their phone’s signal, as the network provider changes according to where they are, reports sky.com. Tourists in Britain are also able to take advantage of network roaming, but Brits themselves cannot.