According to reports, culture secretary Sajid Javid plans to announce new legislation this week that requires service providers to introduce network ‘roaming’ across Britain. This means customers will be able to switch networks when they have no signal from their usual provider.
John Spindler, director of product management at wireless network specialist TE Connectivity, offered the following comment:
“If all goes ahead, this legislation may hold the key to solving the mobile not-spot problem that has plagued so many parts of the UK for such a long time. Indeed, unreliable network coverage is commonplace for many of those living in and travelling through more rural regions, and patience is running out. Users are increasingly expecting a certain level of service and operators need to take this, and future demands, into account and consider realistically whether they can meet these expectations using their existing infrastructure.
“While it’s good news that the Government is shining a light on the ‘black spot’ issue, operators haven’t been able to find new solutions or work together and will essentially have to be forced into a national roaming agreement. This is particularly surprising considering the benefits sharing networks provides both the customer and the operators themselves. Not only does it make more operational and economic sense in all areas – including urban towns and cities – but it is particularly effective in areas of low population. Mobile operators can share antenna sites, base station enclosures, power and even fibre assets and amplifiers, which will significantly reduce their outgoing costs. In addition, with demand for data increasing at a rapid rate, the reduced time-to-market shared infrastructure brings is hugely beneficial. Ultimately, unless significant investment is made, working together is the only solution to meet user service level expectations and this shared-system model has been successful in other regions. By failing to come up with their own plan, the Government has had no choice but to step in.”