David Cameron has renewed his pledge to help rural communities in broadband “not-spots”, having had to cut short his own coastal holidays owing to poor phone signal coverage.
The Prime Minister said he had to dart home from Cornwall – a long-standing domestic holiday destination for the Camerons – in 2011 and 2013, as a lack of signal hampered his ability to keep updated on the fall of colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and the Syrian conflict, respectively.
In an exclusive interview with the Western Morning News on Sunday, Mr Cameron said: “This is a really big issue for people all over the country – the ‘not-spots’.
“It’s not good enough to say here’s the mobile coverage for the whole country. You have got to recognise a lot of people are making important calls while they are on the move.
“We do need to improve the coverage of the mobile phone signal.”
Ministers are already discussing plans to negotiate with mobile phone operators and asking them to help increase coverage by sharing phone masts, which would allow for the introduction of national roaming in the UK.
National roaming sees phones switching from one operator to another when service is not available through a particular provider, which is what happens when people travel abroad.
It would address the problem of partial “not-spots’’, areas where only some of the major networks are available.
It would be good news for hundreds of thousands of people but could provoke resistance from mobile phone companies.
The Government said it was investing up to £150m to improve mobile coverage in areas where there is currently no coverage.