EE hits out at government report over poor coverage


British Infrastructure Group study calls for domestic roaming throughout the UK

EE has slammed a government report accusing all operators of providing poor coverage and being unable to hit the 90 per cent geographical target promised by the end of next year.

The report was released by the British Infrastructure Group (BIG) on October 28, which consists of 90 backbench MPs dedicating to promoting better infrastructure across the UK.

It claimed 17 million people (one third of mobile phone users) receive very little or no reception, with 525 ‘not spots’ where mobile coverage remains non-existent. Findings had been gathered from satisfaction surveys by Which?, uSwitch and Ofcom over the last two years.

Unrealistic target

The BIG report said that mobile coverage has seen few changes since operators invested £5 billion in 2014 to improve coverage by the end of next year. The group called for changes in legislation to allow domestic roaming throughout the UK, while enabling customers to leave a contract after three months if reception is inadequate.

According to BIG chairman GrantShapps,the2017coverage target is unrealistic given the study’s findings. “In 2014, the government pursued a £5 billion investment agreement with the four main operators to improve mobile signal in the UK. However, the MNOs are unlikely to achieve the targets of this agreement by the stated deadline of December 2017.

“It is unacceptable that areas in Britain continue to have such poor mobile connectivity, and that overseas visitors can expect better mobile coverage than Britons stuck with a single provider.”

Outdated figures

However, an EE spokesman claimed figures from the report were outdated and roaming between various networks to gain the best coverage was an unsuitable solution.

“While we do agree that more mobile coverage is critical to the UK, this report fails to recognise the advances in mobile coverage since 2014.

“The UK is known to have among the best and fastest mobile networks in the world, but more can be done and our job is never finished.

“Confusingly, the report points to old figures, with our voice coverage now reaching over 85 per cent of the country. We are set to reach over 90 per cent of the UK geography before the government’s deadline,with not only voice coverage, but also high-speed 4G data coverage.

“National roaming is not the answer for the UK not-spots, and the concept of national roaming was fully considered by the previous government and discounted as a solution to mobile coverage issues in Britain.”


  1. We’ve found national roaming to be a fantastic solution & so have our users. Obviously national roaming isn’t going to solve the issue of mobile coverage not-spots where the government’s mobile infrastructure project should have helped, but it is certainly a solution to the millions of people throughout the UK who struggle daily with patchy or otherwise poor coverage. One example we see often see is where a user may receive a satisfactory signal at home on a single network but poor coverage on that same network at work, where another network offers better coverage. Obviously with Pebble offering national/domestic roaming if this were a customer of ours they would automatically be switched over to the network offering the strongest signal in that area. There is a cost factor of course, but when you consider you’re receiving the service of more than one network, you have to be prepared to pay for a little more than one network.

  2. The government is stupid. They are not listening. Uk roaming would b a mistake. Money can b spent on more important things. I’m with Three and I’ve seen their networks improve over the last 18 months. That’s across 3G, 4Gdata network & VoLTE/4Gvoice network ‘supervoice’ as they call it. Pay attention people.