Government may force operators to share signal to solve mobile ‘not-spot’ issues

Mobile spectrum antenna against sunset

The government is considering forcing mobile operators to share signal coverage in remote regions where mobile signal is patchy or non-existent to try and end the problem of mobile ‘not-spots’.

The move would likely mean if one of the big four operators – Three, EE, O2 or Vodafone – does provide coverage in a remote area, customers on other networks where service is not available would roam to that network.

The BBC reported that a mobile industry source had informed them of the plans, citing the fact there is existing legislation that could allow the government to force operators into this situation.

A widely reported statement from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: “Of course we want to look at what more can be done in areas with poor coverage.

The plans could well complement the government’s £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) which was set up to identify areas where phone signal is lacking and help operators build out coverage.

Initial research by network firm Arqiva found 1,000 locations identified as lacking coverage, in areas ranging from Cornwall, Northumberland, and Yorkshire, to large swathes of Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

However, despite this £150m funding the government has already admitted this will not solve the issue entirely. As such forcing operators to allow other customers onto their networks in any remaining not-spot areas could help improve the situation further.

Earlier this week EE announced it would use its My EE app to send back data on locations where signal drops out while all the operators regular touts ongoing investments to boost network coverage and quality.

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21 June 2014 | 12:26 pm – Source: v3.co.uk
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