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CLA Back UK Government Plans to Force National Mobile Network Roaming

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 (12:00 pm) - Score 432

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has put their weight behind the Government’s proposal to tackle partial mobile not-spots across the United Kingdom by requiring major mobile network operators to adopt a controversial national roaming policy, which some fear could also stifle future investment.

The organisation, which typically represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, said that national roaming was their preferred option. But the group also warned that any new policy must not be to the disadvantage of the landowners who provide the land for mobile masts (i.e. rents paid to the landowner must be adequate and based on fair negotiation without compulsion or threat).

Henry Robinson, CLA President, said:

The lack of a mobile signal is holding back opportunity for thousands of people that live and work in the countryside. We support the Government’s attempt to resolve this major problem. We hope the Government and the mobile industry can work out a voluntary solution, but we would support regulation as a last resort.

Putting in place a national roaming network would encourage mobile operators to work together for the benefit of consumers. We accept there are technical challenges to overcome, but urge mobile operators to work together to achieve universal mobile coverage.”

Meanwhile mobile operators including EE, Three UK, Vodafone and O2 have already put a counter-proposal to the Government (here), which they believe would be able to achieve the stated aims and without sacrificing natural competition and investment.

The Mobile Operators Association has previously warned that the Government’s approach would, if adopted, be “Unworkable … national roaming isn’t the silver bullet that is being suggested. It will take years to implement and will not address the problem of notspots. National roaming would be a disincentive to build more infrastructure. And it is technically difficult and expensive to set up national roaming, and customers would face more dropped calls.”

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar Peter Ford says:

    It probably isn’t a silver bullet, but every little helps.

    The big issue I have, is with the statement “It is technically difficult and expensive to set up national roaming” – This from the same EE that switched on national roaming between Orange and T-Mobile networks in a matter weeks after their merger and from Three and O2 who had a national roaming agreement so that Thee could use O2s 2G network when they launched … How quickly carriers forget.

  2. Avatar NGA for all says:

    Have the CLA announced they will reduce rentals to <£1,000 to faciliate coverage? Without compulsion or threat? Should the rental be related to the number of people served? At less than 20 premises per square kilometre what would a fair rent be?

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