Networks to share masts under ‘National Roaming’ plan?


I’m sure most readers will be aware of Roaming when they go abroad, whereby their phone connects to a foreign network to allow you to make calls, send texts or access the internet when in a different country. But what if you could do it in the UK to alleviate the problem of poor coverage?

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Under plans proposed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), mobile phone companies would have to allow national roaming so that users could switch to an alternative network if their home network is unavailable. This is what Orange and T-mobile originally had before the full merger to EE.

The hope for this is that it would remove blackspots, especially in rural parts where only one or two networks have signal if any. This has been backed up by the government investing £150m in areas with no coverage.

The mobile networks seem to be against this proposal, saying it will put a brake on their investment as there will be no incentive to build new masts if the service had to be shared. This would mean higher costs which would be passed on to consumers. Not sure I follow this logic as the networks could surely work together to share the cost in areas or so that one network boosts coverage in one area and another builds more masts in a different region, thus saving them money as have to build less masts. I suppose it would mean people would be more likely to choose a cheaper network over a better signal as they would be able to get coverage from another network, and the networks wouldn’t like that.

A spokesman from the network Three told the BBC..

We’ve invested heavily to bring coverage to around 98% of the population. We support the principle of expanding coverage to address areas less well served and are in discussions with government about the most effective means to deliver that.

Personally, I think it would be a great idea, both for customers in rural areas, who would be able to have signal, and those in towns and cities who would have a wider choice and be able to choose the best deal for them.

Source: BBC