Could network roaming be coming to the UK?

Could network roaming be coming to the UK?
Network Roaming is one of those break through events that we have been expecting for along time, but a lot of us were starting to suspect that it would never happen.

The ability to roam across networks would allow users who find themselves without service to switch to a stronger signal from a different network, and there have been historic suggestions from governments that a roaming ability should be introduced, but the networks have never delivered.

However The Sunday Telegraph are reporting that the government may be about to step in to help the situation as the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid is apparently preparing to announce plans to force the major networks to activate network roaming.

Initial feedback from the networks has been less then enthusiastic with
The UK Mobile Operators Association (MOA), describing the plans as “far-fetched” and “unworkable”. The MOA also say that a roaming system would take years to implement, however this point is debatable as anyone with a Manx Telecom SIM card will testify to.

Place a Manx sim into your device when in the UK mainland and it will default to the O2 network, if O2 isn’t available then the sim will find the strongest available signal, which sounds ideal, although it is expensive.
Of course T-Mobile and Orange customers have been roaming across networks for quite a while now.

There is a debate about how appropriate Network Roaming is for residential customers but for key public sector workers it has been a big missing component for a long time.

The ability for health or social workers to have access to real time, contemporaneous records has significant proven benefits.

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When real time connected systems work as planned all is well, however when you can’t guarantee a connection there is a risk that the professional will be left without the required information to safely perform their job.
Having roaming data facilities would significantly reduce the risk and the NHS in particular have requested roaming from the networks for a long time, so far without success.
The benefits of roaming voice facilities for vulnerable loan workers is obvious and hardly needs to be discussed.

Network Roaming is a useful tool and potentially life saving, hopefully now it’s about to become a reality.