Ofcom’s upcoming auction of the 4G mobile spectrum is the perfect time to force an upgrade of the UK’s incomplete mobile infrastructure, an advisory group has suggested.
The Communications Consumer Panel, an independent group of experts who advise Ofcom about the best interests for consumer groups and small businesses, said the communications regulator should insist major networks extend coverage to rural areas in exchange for access to the new spectrum.
The new 4G mobile data spectrum is key to the development of the communications industry, as mobile internet use rockets thanks to the rise in smartphones. The new generation of data service is anticipated to offer faster speeds, although it is unlikely to extend coverage.
This means that some areas of the UK will continue to be left behind, without access to innovative and cost-saving services such as Business VoIP and new “mobile landline” services, such as Gradwell Mobile.
The Communications Consumer Panel Chairman, Bob Warner, warned that failure to extend mobile coverage across the UK would mean those with ‘not spots’ will be left behind for years to come:
“Most places that were mobile coverage notspots 10 years ago are still notspots today, and the spectrum auction represents perhaps the only chance we have in the next decade to improve coverage in the nations and for rural communities”
The advice comes as the BBC and network analysis firm Epitiro crowdsource information to create a true map of 3G coverage in the UK, which will show the true extent of the ‘not spots’ via a smartphone app.
(Original image by Timothy Allen)