December 7 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 16, 2013
Millions of pounds are raked in each year by the companies which provide us with mobile phone services, but questions have been asked about how much of their profit is pumped back into improving coverage in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Vodafone made operating profits of £294m in 2012, Telefonica, which owns O2, had a net profit of £328m last year while The 3 network made an £86m operating profit of £86m in the first six months of this year.
Things were not quite so rosy for Everything Everywhere (which operates Orange and T-Mobile), which posted a pre-tax loss of £249m in 2012.
The companies insisted they were investing in our region and trying to share towers and masts to improve services for customers.
A spokesman for operator O2 said services on its network had improved over recent years.
It had taken note of a meeting with MPs and had put more money into boosting the network – and a reduction in rural “not spots” was a clear indication that the strategy was working.
He said: “Providing good mobile network coverage in rural areas is crucial to support local communities and businesses and we’re delighted that research in the East Anglia area shows that O2’s service has a strong presence.
“But we never stand still. Over the last few years we’ve spent over £1bn building our network and we’re investing £1.5m every day, growing our network, making it better for all our customers, whether in cities or rural areas.
“We have a network sharing agreement with Vodafone to create one nationwide network grid so that both networks can reach more of the country far faster than either company could manage on its own.”
A spokesman for Vodafone – Britain’s largest mobile network, which this month announced an £84bn sale of its stake in an American mobile company – said it continued to invest to improve its network, with the aim of providing 98pc 3G coverage by the end of 2015.
She said an agreement struck with Telefonica, which owns O2, to share towers and masts would improve coverage for customers.
“We are in the middle of that roll-out with Telefonica, which will create a national grid and our customers will benefit from us being able to reach further and faster.”
The company is also experimenting with pilots of its Open Sure Signal system – one of which could be in Blakeney – in which signal boosters are fitted at strategic points around a village to create a small-scale network for all residents.
The 3 Network is the newest in Britain, and shares some masts with EE – the company formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile.
A spokesman for the company said: “We want to our customers to have a great smartphone experience and that starts with coverage.
“We are investing in both new sites and radio spectrum to increase our coverage as well other ways to help keep people connected.”
EE also said it was committed to improvements.
A spokesman said: “We have invested £1.5bn in our network over three years to provide customers with the best ever network performance and coverage.
“As well as launching the UK’s first mobile 4G network, our 3G network is the biggest; in the country, covering 98pc of the population.
“Over the next three years we’re continuing to invest in our 2G and 3G network, installing the most modern equipment, and bringing mobile to as many people as possible.”
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