THE UK GOVERNMENT has laid out plans to address poor mobile coverage accross the country which could force networks to share infrastructure, but the news has not gone down well with many.
Just as expected, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, laid out plans today to improve mobile coverage across the country.
The move could see the introduction of a 'national roaming' law, forcing operators to share infrastructure so that people can switch between networks to get a better signal.
Javid said: "I'm determined to ensure the UK has world-class mobile phone coverage, as investment in infrastructure will help drive this government’s long-term economic plans.
"It can’t be right that in a fifth of the UK people cannot use their phones to make a call. The government isn’t prepared to let that situation continue."
However, plans for national roaming, which Javid notes could be a potential solution along with the reformation of virtual networks and coverage obligations, have proved controversial.
The Times reported Home Secretary Theresa May as saying that Javid's proposals could have a "detrimental impact on law enforcement" and that more work needs to be done to ensure that the changes do not stop police accessing "information that is crucial to keeping us safe".
EE has also spoken out against the national roaming plans, describing them as a "flawed concept".
An EE spokesperson told The INQUIRER: "We fully support the government on the joint ambition to improve rural coverage. What we don't want to do is implement the flawed concept of ‘national roaming’.
"This will deteriorate network reliability for tens of millions across the UK, plus it also risks prices rising, which customers understandably won't tolerate."
Vodafone echoed these comments, adding: "National roaming will not provide the people of the UK with better quality voice and mobile internet coverage.
"In fact, it would make coverage and quality significantly worse from the customers' perspective, with a much higher risk of dropped calls, lower battery life and negative impact on services such as voicemail."
Matthew Howett, an analyst at Ovum, suggested that national roaming is likely to be costly and not all that effective.
"The government's preferred solution of ’national roaming' to deal with mobile not-spots, while sounding attractive to those with coverage issues, is a messy solution that ought to be abandoned," he said.
"The cost, complexity and side effects of national roaming make it such an unworkable fix that the industry thought it had been dropped.
"Aside from the cost, potential side effects include reduced battery life and for some customers even losing data services for prolonged periods.
"It's also not expected to address poor data coverage, but only problems with 2G voice services." µ
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