It looks like we could finally see an end to mobile network black spots sometime in the near future, after government legislature is set to force companies to allow network roaming in hard to reach areas.
The four major UK networks have so far failed to voluntarily sort out the issue, which currently affects around one million users in the UK.
However, this government legislature would force EE, O2, Vodafone and Three to work together to cover areas which some of the networks may not cover.
This would work through network roaming, a system which would allow users to switch between networks automatically if their current service is lacking signal. For example, if you have great signal with EE at work you’d stay on that network, however if you struggle for signal at home you may get shifted onto a better network with more signal.
This wouldn’t restrict phones that are locked to a certain provider, as the sim card inside the device would still be registered as the network you’re locked to but could lead to some consumers switching providers if they find they’re on another network more often than not.
Many areas set to be affected by the switch are in rural parts of the UK, with notorious black spots covering the south west of England, portions of Wales and the Scottish highlands.
This service wouldn’t resolve loss of signal in areas where there is no coverage whatsoever though, with places like underground car parks the main culprits due to structural issues blocking signal transmission.
If the mobile networks continue to oppose the move, they could be forced to agree to the deal by law to ensure that consumers aren’t left struggling after taking out a new deal only to find they lack service.
The legislature is set to be discussed this week, and is set to see very little opposition from consumers, especially those who have suffered from black spots.
There’s no timeline on just when the law could be enforced however, most likely going ahead next year, meaning a lengthy wait if you happen to live in one of the problem areas.
Network problems have been largely few and far between over recent years, with the ever growing development of 4G speeds being rolled out across many parts of the UK.
In another move, EE also brought in 4G+ services to several areas of London, offering up 150mbps speeds for compatible handsets, over twice the current pace of other 4G networks.
Written by Luke Hatfield