Poor phone signal in Cornwall leaves people with 'raw deal'

"Too many" people in Cornwall do not get a good deal from their phone companies because of poor mobile phone signal, an MP has said.

Dan Rogerson, MP for north Cornwall, said that despite paying the same price as in other areas, "variable reception" has left residents with a raw deal.

He is asking people to test and record the strength of mobile phone signals to help campaign for better reception.

In July, the government announced details of plans to improve coverage.

Liberal Democrat Mr Rogerson said: "Phone package prices stay the same wherever you live, but mobile phone reception is very variable which means that too many people in our area are not getting a good deal from the phone companies.

"People in north Cornwall will be all too aware of the problems mobile phone users face with signal going down regularly in many areas and some places missing out altogether."

'Increased costs'

The government published details of its plan to provide mobile coverage to 60,000 homes and businesses currently in black spots before the end of 2015.

The scheme has been divided into five phases, the first two of which - including Cornwall - are already under way.

A total of £150m has been set aside for the Mobile Infrastructure Project, which will be used to buy the right to erect masts on various properties and to pay for the infrastructure.

The equipment will then be used by country's network operators, Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three.

Giles Chichester, Conservative MEP for south west England, said the problem of poor mobile phone coverage is regularly raised at his constituency meetings.

"Poor mobile phone reception results in increased administration costs for business and often the loss of commercial contracts worth many millions of pounds," he said.

"This government is very much aware of the problems and is working with the mobile phone industry to resolve them as well as making available additional funding to rectify the situation."

The European Commission is currently looking at reforms to the telecommunications market, including the abolition of mobile phone roaming charges to provide improved mobile phone coverage.

Mr Chichester said that in order to "accelerate action", evidence of the extent of the problem was required.

The Countryside Alliance is also campaigning for better rural coverage and is collecting data from across the country, using the RootMetrics smartphone app.

Makers of the free app say it can measure which company provides the best service for a particular area.

Mr Chichester said: "I would ask everyone to help with this work to provide the Countryside Alliance with the evidence to take to Government and the European Commission."

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