Businesses are being asked to provide details of where there is current poor mobile phone connectivity.
The Chamber network across the UK is launching a campaign that will bring together business communities and those involved in delivering mobile networks to identify coverage challenges and work through solutions to improve poor mobile connectivity.
‘Not-spots’ and areas of partial ‘not-spots’ hamper businesses across our region. A recent British Chambers of Commerce survey found that 21% of firms say the UK mobile phone network doesn’t meet their needs. Accessing new and existing customers, suppliers and employees were cited as issues. Despite investment in geographic coverage for voice and text, not-spots still exist, even in dense commercial centres.
As an example, a major employer in the area said: “Our office is at a modern business park, three miles from the centre. The coverage for the major network that we use is patchy, at best. On the ground floor, it is non-existent. Upstairs, we receive a low-grade 4G signal most of the time.
“An example of how this affects us is this: before we had our Wi-Fi up and running, a client wanted to organise a call via Skype. As we don’t run Skype on our desktop network, I had to sit outside in the car park, where there was at least some signal, to conduct the conference on my mobile. The clients were in London and the USA. This does not present our region as a credible place to do business.
“In addition, our business involves travelling to see clients or moving between office locations. On several occasion, I have been frustrated when speaking on the mobile, particularly north / north east of York, where I often only get ‘one bar’ of signal. The signal can also be very inconsistent and making a call on the move can become a frustrating series of ‘dropped’ calls.
“This is incompatible with a business environment that expects and encourages flexible working, and where clients want their advisers being available whether sitting at their desk or not. We are often told that York is at the forefront of business connectivity and in the centre that’s probably true. However, one does not have to travel far to discover ‘black holes’ and ‘not-spots’ causing major inconvenience and an obstacle to fully embracing modern business practices.”
West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has more examples from across the area from companies facing similar problems.
Our campaign will be constructive and focused on solutions. While we’ll press for investment and services improvements, we will work with mobile operators and all parties with a stake in getting this right across the UK. Working together, business, communities and operators can identify key gaps in coverage and find shared solutions to resolve the real-world connection problems many business communities face.
Businesses are asked to get in touch with the Chamber here, and share your experiences of poor connectivity. Information will be used in mapping out areas where mobile phone signal coverage is unreliable as part of the national campaign.
Note 1: 1,400 companies took part in the BCC survey