Countryside Alliance welcomes plan to improve mobile phone coverage

THE Countryside Alliance has welcomed OFCOM’s five point plan to improve mobile phone coverage announced last Friday (November 8).

The organisation has also welcomed news that four mobile phone service providers have now hit their target to cover 90 percent of the UK population.

But the Countryside Alliance says it is ‘disappointed’ that Vodafone still has to increase its reach by 1.4 percent and hopes it will achieve this by the end of the year.

Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance, said: “Mobile phone reception is vital for rural homes and businesses, but the reception you get on the ground can vary distinctly from that predicted by your provider.

“That’s why we launched our Sick of No Signal campaign earlier this year to try to map the reality of no-spots in the countryside,.”

As part of the campaign, people across the UK have been taking signal samples with their smartphones using RootMetric’s free CoverageMap app.

Data compiled from the app and professional testing will be used to create a true map of coverage which will be used to lobby the government and mobile phone companies to improve reception, and can be used by the public to gauge which provider offers the best service where they live.

The OFCOM five-point plan includes an undertaking to extend coverage to the ten percent of the UK population who live in hard-to-reach areas, through the Government’s £150m mobile infrastructure project and to improve coverage on roads and railways.

Miss Lee said: “We are pleased that OFCOM recognises the significant problems experienced by those who have to travel in rural areas as part of their work.”

Last month OFCOM reported that just 35 percent of the UK’s A and B roads are served by all four 3G networks and nine percent have no 3G coverage at all.

The Countryside Alliance’s Sick of No Signal campaign is on-going.

Since the crowd-sourcing project began back in June, the number of samples to the database has increased by 66 percent and 95,000 new reports are made each day.

The results, so far, can be viewed at www.rootmetrics.com/uk/