In a Government deal, EE, O2, Vodafone and Three Mobile have agreed to dramatically improve mobile coverage across the UK by 2017. Are you ready to see the back of not-spots?
I witness the same scenario every day on the way home from work. I’m sitting (more likely standing) on the train and someone’s on their phone. Somewhere just outside Croydon, the conversation will take a familiar turn.
It will start with words being repeated, then an apology along the lines of ‘sorry, you’re breaking up’, and finally a moment of confused and frustrated silence as the commuter stares at their phone and wonders why it’s stopped working. I give an understanding nod – we’ve just entered a ‘partial not-spot’.
Plans for better mobile coverage
Soon, however, such areas of poor mobile coverage should become much rarer. The culture secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced a landmark deal with EE, O2, Vodafone and Three. The four mobile networks have committed to investing £5bn to improve coverage.
At the moment, only 69% of the UK has full mobile coverage from every single network. The deal requires this to hit 85% by 2017. Each operator must also individually guarantee coverage across 90% of the country.
Don’t forget about the data
It’s not just having signal to make a call that’s important; many people told the Government that better data coverage should be on the agenda. Ian said:
‘The signal strength shown on my phone can be fine, but try to connect and the connection drops out, often before I even get to the requested site. Sometimes it drops out in the middle of a voice call. In effect I have the mobile access I pay for 60 – 70% of the time that I want to use it.’
The new plans outlined today will also improve data coverage, so things are looking up for Ian.
Will it benefit you?
The Government says the deal will halve the number of partial not-spots and reduce total not-spots (where there’s no signal) by two-thirds. We now want to see swift action from the mobile providers, with financial penalties if they fail to deliver on their commitments.
Do you suffer from poor mobile coverage? Check out our interactive map to find the network with the best – and most reliable – signal in your area.