Report finds improvement in mobile phone coverage but many in Huntingdonshire still don’t have full 4G

Almost half of homes and businesses do not have full 4G coverage. Picture: Radar.

Almost half of homes and businesses do not have full 4G coverage. Picture: Radar. - Credit: Archant

Just under half of homes and businesses in Huntingdonshire do not have full 4G coverage, according to Ofcom.

Figures from the communications regulator’s Connected Nations report show that in January, 47 per cent of premises in the area did not have reliable 4G coverage from all four mobile phone networks. Last year, that figure was 62 per cent.

Campaigners have said that it is essential for consumers to get access to 4G from all four networks, so they do not have to suffer localised monopolies.

The County Land and Business Association is calling on the Government to introduce legally binding targets to force the mobile phone networks to extend 4G coverage.

It said that mobile phone operators were letting rural areas become “a digital wilderness”.

CLA senior economic adviser, Dr Charles Trotman, said: “State-of-the-art coverage will improve productivity of businesses and make them far more profitable.”

Dr Trotman explained that the CLA’s aim is to push for comprehensive and reliable 4G coverage from all four major mobile networks - EE, 3, Virgin and O2.

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“Our objective is universal coverage,” he said. “But everything is predicated on the operators themselves to put the infrastructure in place.

“We need to incentivise all operators to branch out, to give consumers more market choice and avoid localised monopolies.”

Ofcom has proposed introducing obligations that require networks to deliver better quality indoor coverage.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “We agree mobile coverage must improve, particularly in rural communities, and we’re working with the Government and the industry to support this.”

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “We have implemented major changes to planning laws and made it cheaper and easier for the industry to roll out masts.

“But the mobile companies now need to act fast on these reforms and deliver better coverage across the UK, particularly in rural areas.”

A spokesman from Mobile UK, which represents the four mobile networks, said: “Huge improvements have been made to mobile coverage in recent years, as a result of the £2 billion invested each year by the industry.

“For this to continue, we need the active co-operation of landowners to provide operators with suitable, cost-effective sites.”