As telecoms experts with a unique mobile offering, 24 Seven is well ahead of the game when it comes to the issue of mobile coverage across the UK. The inadequacy of connectivity in many areas of the country has been an emotive problem for several years now, and despite well-intended pledges and initiatives from politicians and industry bodies alike, patchy network coverage remains disruptively poor in widespread locations. Recent news provides no relief from this atmosphere of failure that surrounds mobile signal: promises of changes to both regulation and infrastructure have broken down, exposing the shortfall when it comes to real solutions for such a significant issue.
In February, Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, publicly admitted the failure of the government’s Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), a £150m scheme designed to tackle the UK’s not-spot problem. Run alongside Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the project originally tasked infrastructure company, Arqiva with scoping out potential sites for 600 new masts.
Unfortunately, almost three years on, only 16 masts have actually been erected, and only a fraction of the £150 million of EU funding allocated to the project has been handed out. Setbacks such as the distraction of advancing 4G technologies and difficulties in accurately identifying what defines a “not-spot” were cited by Vaizey, but so far mobile users of the UK have no official explanation for why the plan devised to repair a fundamental problem has failed so dramatically.
Confusion is only added to the ongoing issue by the pre-existing agreement between the UK government and the four main mobile network operators, which proposes a £5 billion investment to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017. Agreed in 2014, this deal was set up to support the MIP in tackling ‘not-spots’, but has received little coverage since commencement, and the resulting uncertainty seems representative both of slow progress and a convoluted market.
24 Seven believes that customers deserve honesty, clarity and ultimately excellent service every step of the way. Amidst the government’s poor handling of this nationwide issue, our innovative roaming SIM card has been providing a successful solution for over a year. The Jump® SIM allows mobile devices to switch between the three main mobile networks whenever signal drops. Jump® combats the problem of patchy coverage in the UK, but there is still work to be done to raise awareness and compliance amongst customers, mobile networks, regulators and politicians alike. The industry runs the risk of lethargy, and we are calling for change to come at a faster, clearer and smarter pace.
Recent news has also covered the way that regulation is failing UK mobile users across the UK, with Ofcom at last agreeing to address the topic of compensation for when things go wrong with coverage. Currently, there are no official rules for how mobile service providers treat customers following periods of faulty service or complete signal breakdown.
Whilst there’s no denying the positivity of a step towards fairer treatment of mobile customers, the time it has taken for Ofcom to agree even to consult on the matter serves to highlight the problematic nature of the industry. As telecoms and mobile experts, 24 Seven understands that treating customers with respect and listening to their needs is as important as providing the excellent services, solutions and products that the business strives towards every day.
In an industry burdened with not only failures of policy and regulation, but also with infrastructure problems and widespread disappointments, our high standards of customer service and innovative approach to offering the best services are redefining and illuminating the world of telecoms.