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)


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  1. Simon Marsden 27th July 2011 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Telecos may not realise how much they miss out by not providing coverage in these areas.  If they just look at who lives there, they get the wrong impression.

    I live & have my base in an area with good coverage. But I can’t use mobile phones & mobile broadband as a core part of business, because coverage is not universal & I travel through & to places where it doesn’t work. 4G will be no better than 3G if I can’t rely on it.

    How do Telecos factor in the additional business they would gain in the existing coverage areas if they also made it work in the ‘not spots’?

    • Anonymous 3rd August 2011 at 2:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment Simon.

      I feel that 4G can take us forward to point where we can consider true ‘office-less’ businesses that only exist through mobile devices such as laptops or smartphones. However, it won’t make any difference if, as you said, it cannot be relied upon everywhere business people go.

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