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article imageNew legislation could eradicate UK mobile black areas

By James Walker     Nov 5, 2014 in Technology
The UK's mobile phone networks could be forced to allow connected devices to switch between themselves as part of new proposed legislation seeking to eradicate mobile blackspots.
The primary networks in the country — EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three — have previously failed to reach an agreement to increase total UK network coverage. This has prompted culture secretary Sajiv Javid to request a change in the law, forcing the networks to allow phones to switch connection to a rival provider's if a signal is unobtainable.
Many consumers are annoyed by lack of phone signal in certain areas. They find themselves using their valuable modern devices, containing more gold than a bar of ore, outside only to discover that their network provider has no coverage of the area, even though others do. It is something nearly everyone has experienced and it is estimated that one fifth of the British population have an unreliable mobile signal all of their time in their locality.
In most of the affected areas, at least one of the other service providers is capable of reliably supplying some form of connection though. Therefore, if the phone could simply switch to another provider when the signal strength of the user's "main" network — the one the bill is paid to — is low or non-existent, many mobile "black spots" would suddenly be non-existent, each of them covered by at least one operator.
The networks are not keen on this idea, however good it may be for the consumer — sharing costly equipment that they individually paid for is not very appealing. The networks spent time and money establishing infrastructure for their own service so making it available to others seems somewhat unfair. It would also remove an element of competition between the providers as all would end up with the same overall amount of network coverage as perceived by the user.
Nevertheless, a process of consultation with the Big Four, Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three, is expected to be initiated by the government in the next week. It seems to many somewhat ironic that when roaming in Europe users have the choice of any provider within range but at home they are locked to one, even if it has a weak signal.
A source on the matter told The Daily Telegraph: "We want to eradicate this situation of partial not-spots. There is expected to be a consultation in the coming days and this could include a legislative option. If these companies do not change, we might force them to change." Hope is in sight then for those who frequently find themselves without a signal on their mobile network although the reluctance of the providers must still be overcome it seems.
More about Legislation, Mobile, Phone, Signal, blackspot
 
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