Fears over emergency calls for village residents as phone signal woes linger on

Poor phone signal in Somersham, Nigel Mann,

Poor phone signal in Somersham, Nigel Mann, - Credit: Archant

Residents in Somersham are growing increasingly frustrated after problems with a nearby mast has left them with no phone signal.

Since the beginning of April, phone company O2’s online ‘live status checker’ acknowledged an issue with the mast, located in Bluntisham Heath Road, but users are still unable to make calls, send texts or access the internet from their mobiles.

Nigel Mann, of The Paddock, in Somersham, said: “I’m still getting zero signal or hanging out of the window to make a phone call. I’m still paying my line rental fee, but I’m not getting the service I paid for.”

Although O2 has tried reassuring customers it is fixing the problem via its website checker, Mr Mann says users were not notified directly, and that nothing has been sent about what the problem actually is.

In fact, after calling their customer service desk on April 12, Mr Mann was told the mast had been faulty for almost seven weeks.

“It’s just disgraceful,” he said.

“You cannot treat people like that, and there aren’t many networks left to choose from. You’ve got O2, EE, and possibly Vodafone, but Vodafone doesn’t have decent coverage in this area. That’s the reason we went with O2; they had the best coverage in the area and now it’s worse than anybody else’s.”

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Trying to piece the problem together, others in the village have also contacted the provider.

Reverend Bruce Daniels, pastor at Somersham Baptist Church, was told that 12 masts were down and were being upgraded to provide 4G.

He was also told third parties were not allowing engineers access and that while it could take just 48 hours to fix, it was more likely to be done by May 1.

“You leave the village and get inundated with messages,” added Reverend Daniels.

“It’s an intermittent problem; you cannot guarantee a message is going to go through and people can’t contact you. It’s not made it impossible, but it is difficult.”

On April 25, a spokesman from O2 told The Hunts Post that an engineer was due to be in the village to replace some equipment on the mast.

“For health and safety reasons we needed to power down our mast in the Somersham area whilst our engineer carried out the work. The mast is back in full service and we apologise for any inconvenience caused,” the spokesman said.

Speaking to O2 on May 3 though, The Hunts Post was told that a 3G issue had been resolved on April 27, and that the mast already has 4G.

A spokesman added that an engineer was on site to investigate 4G on May 2, but that any work done on this will not be an upgrade to the service and should not affect people’s ability to make phone calls or send text messages via 2G and 3G.

Despite this, residents are still unable to get any signal.

“If the mast was working correctly at 2G and 3G it would come back fine, so it’s nonsense,” said Mr Mann.

“I’ve spoken to two or three other people and they are having the same issues.”

“It’s affecting my wife sending text messages and picking the kids up at the playgroup,” he added.

“If there is an emergency or a change to the pick-up schedule there is no guarantee we are going to get it. It’s already happened; the pick-ups have been affected because of the connection.”