It’s 2014 people. Granted, it won’t be for much longer, but let’s stay in the moment. I take a regular route to and from work. On my drive there’s always a section of the motorway that simply has no signal, so I have to tell callers, “I’m going to lose you in a second, I’ll call back.”
That was with EE, and the section in question is just before junction 14 going south. It always happens and it’s not exactly in the middle of no-where. It doesn’t matter what phone I use, same deal. Now, with O2, I lose all connectivity just south of junction 15 instead. This on a major arterial route through the centre of England.
After a while you get used to the areas where your phone just won’t function. You may even (if you’re on a bus or train) be familiar with the parts where your 4G or 3G signal switches to GPRS. It simply isn’t good enough, but a lot of us just shrug our shoulders and put up with it, especially when we’re trapped in a long contract.
The solution, from Ofcom, was for networks to provide “national roaming” technology. The networks weren’t keen and the problem of “not-spots” hasn’t really got a great deal better apart from a few local fixes by the likes of Vodafone and EE. Both are trying slightly different solutions to those areas where signal just doesn’t exist.
Now, however, O2, Three, EE and Vodafone are to invest £5bn to guarantee coverage across 90% of the UK. That’s geographical coverage, not population coverage. This is important because we’ve all probably got great mobile coverage near our homes, but out in a field, on a country road or anywhere even remotely.. err.. remote, you’re in a world of patchy pain.
The government have totally unveiled the “legally binding deal” with the big four networks to get this improved somewhat. It should reduce the total not-spots by two-thirds. The amount of partial coverage areas, where you get some coverage if you’re on a lucky network should be reduced by half,
The timetable for all this? You’re going to have to wait another two years, which in my head is pretty ridiculous considering how long this situation has been going on for. Ofcom will be enforcing it and all four networks should see coverage increase by 69% to 85%.