Mobile coverage should reflect the growing use of the smartphone and the expectation of its users, according to Ofcom.
It should also reflect the fact devices receive far more data, but also require a stronger signal.
In light of this, Ofcom has raised its requirements for what constitutes mobile coverage.
Ofcom’s interactive maps and a smartphone app will allow people to get the most accurate ever picture of mobile coverage. Development of these tools is intended to help provide clear, detailed information on the availability of mobile calling, text and data services in different parts of the country.
According to the most recent coverage data, nearly six in ten premises (58%) can receive an indoor 4G mobile signal from all four networks (up from 40% last year).
However, across the UK, people still struggle to get a sufficiently strong signal, particularly in rural areas and on roads and railways. ‘Total’ geographic 4G coverage, where reception is available from all four mobile operators, is available across just 43% of the UK’s landmass.
When it comes to calls and text messaging, 30% of the UK does not receive a signal from all four operators (down from 37% last year).
While these figures show improvements, we are calling for further investment from mobile providers to improve coverage.
What action is Ofcom taking to address the issue of mobile coverage?
- Setting new requirements in operators’ licences – The telecoms regulator plans to consult on detailed plans to improve coverage in rural areas, by setting coverage obligations on mobile airwaves being released in future. The requirements would be written into licences of operators who are awarded ‘700 MHz’ frequencies.
- Enforcing existing obligations – Mobile operators are now required to provide calls-and-text coverage to 90% of the UK landmass, while O2 must provide an indoor 4G signal to at least 98% of premises. If operators fall short of these obligations, Ofcom may take enforcement action against them.
- Increasing network capacity – As part of Ofcom’s plans to improve current mobile capacity, as well as provide frequencies for future 5G services, it will hold a 5G spectrum auction.
- Helping to improve coverage on trains – Having recently installed equipment on Network Rail’s engineering train, Ofcom hope to build a detailed picture of actual mobile reception across the UK’s rail network.
- Working with Government – Helping to implement new planning laws that will make it easier for mobile operators to improve coverage by sharing and installing equipment, such as mobile masts.
- Extending use of signal boosters – Ofcom now allows controlled, unlicensed use of mobile phone ‘repeaters’, to amplify signals between a mobile phone and the operators’ transmitter.
“People have never relied so much on their phones in daily life. As a nation, we are using 13 times more mobile data than just five years ago.
“While the industry works to improve mobile coverage, it’s vital people can get a trustworthy picture of reception across the UK. Using our tools, mobile users can see which network offers the best service in areas where they live, work and travel, before they take out a new phone contract.”
The benefits of a business mobile contract with MF Communications
- No need to change your number
- Flexible working for your business and employees
- Keeping the whole team ‘in touch’
MF Communications is a dedicated team of business telecoms solutions specialists that includes business mobile telecommunications experts. Not only can we offer you the best deals by having no fixed deals or contractual obligations, we can manage all your business telecommunications services and save you money and time by providing you with one easy-to-read bill simple and one point of contact.
Please email us for further information. Or to discuss your business mobile solutions needs with one of our UK business managers, call now on 01892 514687.