Operators defend RAC criticism over lack of network coverage


Around 4,600 miles of British roads have no network coverage at all

UK networks have defended claims made by the RAC that more needs to be done to improve network coverage across British roads.

Research by the RAC has revealed around 4,600 miles (two per cent) of British roads have no network coverage. These roads include the A93 in Scotland, A149 in East Anglia, A494 in Wales and A591 in Cumbria. The research was based on Ofcom’s most recent Infrastructure Report. The RAC used the data to determine which roads have no network coverage.

RAC head of external communications Philip Gomm told Mobile News the lack of coverage can leave motorists at risk, particularly in the event of an emergency and is demanding the government do more to push networks into investment to tackle the issue.

“The networks have gone a long way by investing billions in setting up the UK network but there are gaps and it is incumbent on ministers and the regulator to keep the pressure on for that investment to continue,” said Gomm.

“Most of us see our phones as part of our emergency kit for when we breakdown or have an accident. We think we can simply pull the device from our pocket or glove box and will be able to summon help. Unfortunately that is not always true. There are still big holes in coverage, especially when it comes to 3G and 4G services.”

Operators dismissed these claims, noting they are already spending “billions” on network improvements and road side coverage was a priority.

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “We are investing around one billion pounds per year to deliver a strong signal for customers both indoors and outdoors, as well as looking to offer 98 per cent mobile population coverage the length and breadth of the UK, including roads, railways, shopping centres and business centres.”

An EE spokesperson added: “Mobile coverage in the UK has never been better than it is now, and we’re still investing billions to improve rural coverage across the UK. Ofcom’s checker shows EE already has the most coverage, and all operators have agreed to invest £5 billion to increase coverage further.”