North West Wales

Lack of mobile signal in Blaenau Ffestiniog angers customers

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Media captionBusinesses say they are losing out on trade and money because of the problems

Customers of EE, Orange and T-Mobile are complaining of two months of phone signal problems in a Gwynedd town.

One company director in Blaenau Ffestiniog is considering taking the matter to court, claiming loss of business.

The mobile reception problems started in June and are believed to be due to issues with a mast.

EE - which owns Orange and T-Mobile - is looking into the complaints and has been asked to comment.

One customer is Jim Buckley, a director with Stormflex, which employs six people.

"Our company is a slate conservation business and we took a corporate decision to change from using a landline to EE mobile - then all calls to the landline were transferred to mobile," he said.

"Two months ago the signal strength dropped from five bars to one, with the result that just walking out of the office to take a call resulted in being cut off."

Mr Buckley says the phone company has told him that it is fulfilling its obligation because there is one bar of signal but he says that is not enough as calls are being diverted to voicemail.

"We're considering taking the matter to court because the company has been totally neglectful in how it is treating customers," he added.

'Impact'

A town councillor - himself affected - says efforts to contact the companies involved have proved fruitless.

Rory Francis said he specifically chose T-Mobile as a network provider because the signal was so strong near his home in Tanygrisiau near Blaenau Ffestiniog.

"This has been going on for eight weeks and I've spent hours on the phone trying to sort it out," he said.

"I chose T-Mobile because I could use my mobile in my home, but it's completely useless now."

Gwynedd county councillor Paul Thomas, who is also a town councillor, said his Orange mobile signal had been "coming and going".

"It appears to be some kind of problem with a mast, and in a town of 5,000 residents that is having quite an impact.

"This is what a lot of people are talking about in the town.

"Social networking sites are full of comments about the problems and the fact that some people are unable to get out of their contracts, although they are paying for something which they can't access."

Some customers have referred the matter to Gwynedd council's trading standards department.

A Gwynedd council spokesperson said: "Officers are advising members of the public to contact their mobile phone providers directly to discuss the issue in the first instance".

Alternatively, the council said customers can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0845 040505 (Welsh language) or 0845 040506 for further advice.

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