by Candace Gawler

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport has launched a consultation to address the poor mobile network coverage and ‘partial not–spots’ across the UK. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said that it “can’t be right that in a fifth of the UK, people cannot use their phones to make a call. The government isn’t prepared to let that situation continue.”

The consultation outlines legislative options including ‘national roaming’ whereby phones could roam onto another network signal when theirs was not available, much like international roaming. The other three options outlined include ‘infrastructure sharing’ between mobile networks and ‘reforming virtual networks,’ which would ensure more than one company offers access to the same network. Finally a ‘coverage obligation’ was suggested, which would oblige certain networks to cover a certain percentage of the UK but leaving it open to them to decide how best to achieve this outcome.

As reported in the Guardian, The Times published details from a private letter that suggests Home Secretary Theresa May is opposing Javid’s plan to allow ‘national roaming,’ warning that it could leave Britain more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

In his Morning Briefing for the Telegraph yesterday, Stephen Bush highlighted the frustration that national roaming could cause to phone companies, terrorism concerns aside, as it reduces the incentive to customers to switch providers for better service.

The culture secretary, however, said he was “determined to ensure the UK has world-class mobile phone coverage as investment in infrastructure will help drive this government’s long-term economic plan.”

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