Mobile Phones: Rural Areas

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 5th April 2019.

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Photo of Kirstene Hair Kirstene Hair Conservative, Angus

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of enabling mobile phone roaming between mobile service network operators in rural areas.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Government is committed to extending geographic mobile coverage to 95% of the UK by 2022, as well as providing an uninterrupted mobile signal on all major roads.

Roaming in rural areas has the potential to improve consumer choice and could be a solution for the problem of “partial not-spots.” This is currently mandated for emergency calls so that a 999 call can be made from any mobile in all areas where there is a signal from at least one operator.

The Government’s recently published consultation on our Statement of Strategic Priorities urges Ofcom to fully consider the costs and benefits of roaming as an approach to improving mobile coverage more generally, and to maintain the option of requiring roaming by including appropriate provisions when granting rights of use for spectrum.

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