• Infrastructure investments should be welcomed, but will be subject to lengthy delays.
  • In our considered opinion, it’s likely that the deadline of 2017 for improving mobile coverage will not be met,
  • National roaming is a part of the solution, especially for ‘coverage critical’ industries and lone-workers.
  • The technology exists now and can be implemented immediately.

Telecommunications network operator 24 Seven Communications Ltd has welcomed the reports today about a deal between government and the network operators which aims to improve mobile coverage in the UK, but urges the need for a solution now.

The business has reported that national roaming, the ability to jump between networks to improve the chances of getting mobile phone reception, remains part of the answer to poor mobile reception. 24 Seven has launched a UK SIM card that works on multiple networks, therefore helping to eliminate partial not spots – the first UK network operator to do so.

David Samuel, Managing Director of 24 Seven said: “Mobile phone reception is no longer a ‘nice to have’ commodity. In many cases, it is critical to businesses and individuals and we welcome any plans to improve coverage.”

“Our roaming SIM provides an effective solution – and is available now. Infrastructure investments should be welcomed, but we need to caution that this will be subject to lengthy delays while new masts go through planning permission, design and construction stages. The timescales being talked about of improvements by 2017 are simply too lengthy (and we believe unachievable), and users shouldn’t have to suffer poor coverage any longer.”

“Partial not spots are not confined to the countryside. Many mobile users in cities are continually frustrated by their mobile phone reception and this is costing the UK on many levels.”

“We responded at length to the government consultation and await the release of the full consultation with interest.”

It has been estimated that 20% of the UK suffers from an unreliable mobile phone signal and this can be down to a number of factors, including geography and network coverage. According to research, this can result in British users having no signal 15% of the time. However, in areas where signal strength is poor, reception is often available from one of the four main network providers.

The SIM has been developed over the past twelve months, and has undergone significant testing, following a period of research and development. 24 Seven believe that in addition to the need for improved mobile coverage in rural areas, there is a strong business case for improving phone signal throughout the UK. National roaming will be a vital tool for coverage critical industries, such as medical services and also in lone-worker scenarios.

The SIM is currently being trialled by a number of customers, including several in the medical sector. An NHS trust in Yorkshire is using the SIM for their midwives who carry out home visits in areas that often have poor coverage on one or more networks.