Government pledges to eliminate poor mobile coverage

Mobile coverage for all

The government has taken the first step towards eliminating poor mobile coverage for the fifth of the population currently affected by a lack of bars on their smartphones.

The Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid has launched a consultation around four legislative options: national roaming, infrastructure sharing, reforming virtual networks and coverage obligation.

He's already spoken to EE, O2, Vodafone and Three to try an find a voluntary solution, and while it appears nothing has been agreed yet talks will continue throughout the consultation.

The consultation closes on November 26, but beyond that there's no time frame on when mobile coverage may extend to those in the far reaches of the British Isles.

EE has spoken out on the consultation process, with a spokesperson for the network telling TechRadar:

"We fully support Government on the joint ambition to improve rural coverage.

"We're keenly aware that there are some parts of the UK where customers still can't get adequate signal levels and, while we're already working on some significant nationwide coverage improvement plans, we also need Government to work more closely with the industry to remove the barriers to efficiently building more signal in more places."

National roaming warning

While EE is all for improving signal in rural areas, it's wary about the Government's suggestion of national roaming, which would allow you to use another network's signal if your provided isn't available in a particular area.

"What we don't want to do is implement the flawed concept of 'national roaming'," EE told us.

"This will deteriorate network reliability for tens of millions across the UK, plus it also risks prices rising, which customers understandably won't tolerate."


Phones and Tablets Deputy Editor

John (Twitter, Google+) got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile, churning his way through a multitude of handsets, tablets and operating systems. Signalling his arrival at TechRadar by becoming a Guinness World Record holder in his first week (for the highest score on Super Mario Bros using a giant controller), John hasn't looked back since.