Mobile notspots still hit Suffolk and Essex as new year deadline looms

Is mobile phone coverage improving?

Is mobile phone coverage improving? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mobile phone users across the region are still suffering from unreliable mobile phone coverage despite companies working to meet a new year deadline to improve services.

Nick Burfield, Picture: Phil Morley

Nick Burfield, Picture: Phil Morley

We have launched a new survey trying to find out what people think of their mobile and 4G coverage across the region with the deadline only two months away.

By the end of 2017 government regulator Ofcom has told mobile companies that they have to cover 90% of the British land mass with mobile phone coverage. That includes all the land in Britain but does not require the signal to get inside properties.

The O2 network has a further target as part of its licence to operate – it has to cover 98% of properties with 4G coverage. This means the signal has to get indoors.

A spokesman for the watchdog said that if any of the four networks – EE, Three, Vodafone, and 02 – fail to meet these targets they would be in breach of their licence and Ofcom could take action against them.

David Burch, Director of Policy, Essex Chambers of Commerce

David Burch, Director of Policy, Essex Chambers of Commerce - Credit: Archant

Our online survey asks readers what they think of the mobile service they are currently getting. Initial comments have been mainly negative – with people from both rural and urban areas saying they have been plagued by unreliable mobile signals.

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Both Suffolk and Essex Chambers of Commerce said their members have complained of problems.

Nick Burfield from the Suffolk Chamber said: “There remain problems with mobile coverage in different parts of the county and it is a topic of interest when we discuss Suffolk’s infrastructure.

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“In fact this is going to be on the agenda at our next meeting of our group looking at this when we meet in January.”

David Burch from the Essex Chamber echoed his views: “This is often seen as a rural problem, but it also affects urban areas. I was at a meeting at business park near Chelmsford today and I was getting no bars on my phone.”

Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader Jane Storey is responsible for mobile and broadband coverage. She said: “I think things are getting better – I’m not getting as many people raising mobile coverage as we were but it is clearly taking longer than we would like.

“There are areas of the county where it is not good enough – and that must improve for the sake of the whole of Suffolk.”

We have already had some comments from our online survey – mainly from users dissatisfied with their mobile coverage:

Over the past two years my local base station has regularly “failed” leaving me with no 4G, and often not even text messages.

Unable to make or receive calls when in places like, Aldeburgh and Saxmundham. I have a young child in nursery and I need to be contactable at all times in case there is an emergency.

I live at the top of a hill in a second floor flat near the centre of Ipswich – I can barely get a signal if I am lucky.

Trying to get hold of family members is impossible and often don’t get texts unless I leave the village

Calls drop constantly

Little or no signal means constant missed calls, over 90% go straight to voicemail due to no signal.

Totally unreliable so guessing game if I can send or receive.

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