‘Roaming’ call to tackle Norfolk mobile phone ‘not-spots’

Norfolk's MPs could be asked to lobby for mobile phone companies to allow 'roaming'. Photo: Steve Pa

Norfolk's MPs could be asked to lobby for mobile phone companies to allow 'roaming'. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Norfolk's patchy mobile phone coverage could be improved if companies joined forces to allow users to 'roam' across networks, according to county councillors who want MPs to fight for the change.

Last year, members of Norfolk County Council agreed to lobby the government and MPs to prioritise the 'not spots' in the county's mobile phone coverage.

Twelve new clusters of Norfolk 'not spots' were identified this year, but the county council has not revealed where they are because their locations were shared with the authority under a non-disclosure agreement.

In June, the government unveiled plans to force operators to share their networks for users in the UK.

That scheme which won support from prime minister David Cameron, who reportedly became frustrated after repeatedly losing a signal during a visit to Norfolk.

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And the opposition Conservative group at Norfolk County Council want Norfolk's MPs to lobby for mobile phone users to 'roam' across mobile phone networks in the UK, in much the same way as happens in Europe.

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of the Conservative group, said, 'The issue of mobile phone coverage is not something that just affects people in their day to day lives, it's an issue that impacts on businesses, as well as healthcare and emergency services.

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'More and more of us are working on-the-go but in Norfolk mobile phone reception will only get worse as expectation outstrips investment.

'As expectation continues to change from being able to make a phone call to being able to access the internet, Norfolk will be left behind the curve without significant change. Allowing users to roam between service providers would be one way of doing this.'

The Conservatives have put forward a motion calling for the council to ask MPs to lobby for the change. It is due to be discussed when the county council meets on Monday, October 20.

The county council's broadband, mobile and digital working group recently met bosses from Vodafone to make the case for further investment on mobile phone coverage in Norfolk.

The Eastern Daily Press last year launched its Let's Get Connected campaign to highlight the need for improvements to mobile phone coverage in Norfolk.

• What do you think of mobile phone coverage in the region? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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