PM To Tackle ‘Not-Spots’.

The Prime Minister has, so it is said, joined the rest of us in getting fed up with ‘not-spots’ – areas where you can’t get a mobile phone signal.

Astonishingly, it appears that even Downing Street suffers from flaky mobile service while, it is said that the PM has had to cut short West Country holidays because of lack of a mobile signal.

It seems odd that a Prime Minister of a reasonably  major country  can be rendered incommunicado by the vagaries of the commercial telecoms networks, and it could be that this is yet another electoral stratagem of Lynton Crosby to make the PM seem like one of us in the face of all the evidence against.

Nonetheless, if the not-spot problem is getting Prime Ministerial attention, then relief may be at hand, not only for the PM, but for the rest of us.

The plan is to tell network operators to make their masts accessible to all mobile phone users.

So your mobile phone gets connected to the nearest mobile mast whoever the mast belongs to and whichever network you’re subscribed to.

The operators, of course, are against the plan. They say switching between different operators’ masts will itself caused dropped calls.

The unfortunate minister charged with the task of bringing the operators round to the PM’s way of thinking is culture secretary Sajid Javid.

Apparently, The EU moves to provide free roaming in 2016 have precipitated the UK plan because the EU plan would mean that foreign visitors to the UK would get a better service than the locals who would remain tied to one operator’s network.



  1. IMHO, the more inclined to free enterprise a country is the worse its mobile phone network, Dr Bob. Our network is pretty shit, the American network is absolutely shit, the Continental networks are reasonably OK and the networks in China are superb.

  2. Here in Wales I can lose signal in several places along a 5 mile stretch that is relatively flat but in Austria I think the only place I lose signal is in some tunnels (or not) and possibly one particular gorge where the road is new. No wonder they are called “Handys” over there.

  3. I’m with you Terry, but are we in a diminishing minority?

  4. Yes our government is in hock to the mobile network operators just as it’s in hock to the sugary food/drink industry, Robtronics, the UK representative in European telecoms negotiations is always the one standing out against reform of operator scams. So we have the most obese children in Europe and the most not-spots just so some venal MPs can collect their brown paper envelopes.

  5. We are in a west country not-spot and we know many, many others. There does exist a wi-fi technology to make using your internet connection seamless for mobile telephony, but that has turned out to be unreliable and now EE is doing it by selling you a box for your router and, of course, a specifically enabled phone.

    So, why do governments see regulation as such a bad thing? The shared mast dropped call nonsense is an utter canard. There is no proper technical justification for such an argument. More power to the EUs elbow if you ask me, our own so-called government’s attitude is simply pathetic.

  6. Isn’t the point of somewhere like Exmoor that it is a bit cut-off from modern life? A place you go to relax, smell the flowers, hear the birdsong and feel the earth under your feet. Or is no experience complete until it’s been posted on facebook?

  7. I think that’s very true, SilverMan, the Japanese in the 70s with the VLSI Project, the Americans in the 80s with Sematech, the Europeans in the 80s with MegaProject and Jessi all revived their flagging chip industries with investments in ICs. Only the Americans seem to have kept it going. The Japanese are out of it and Europe is once again looking to the taxpayer to replenish its technological strengths. Your cycle of public investment in technology followed by private dissipation of the advantages gained by the public investment is borne out by recent history.

  8. Yes indeed Fred I smelt a Lynton Crosby rat with that little gem coming out of No.10. To tell us that the PM runs the country by mobile phone on commercial networks is a bit of a tough one to swallow. But it makes Dave look as if he’s sharing our pain.

  9. Bit of a bugger if the Red Telephone rings to announce impending WW3 and the PM happens to be in the West Country. What do they use these days anyway – a red iPhone?

  10. Private sector is not good at building out infrastucture with a long-term view. Does not fit in with the per-quarter and MBA-drone bonus targets at all.
    Why would some hot-shot manager set plans in place for a decade or two into the future for the company’s long-term benefit?
    Typically a private nationalisation cycle is required to spin things in and out of public ownership…. public pays to finance large infrastructure build-outs…. then privatised for the “commericial” sector to milk the assets to death….. until crisis point… then nationalise it again…. rinse and repeat.

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