Improvements to the Isle’s mobile phone coverage are on the way - but not until the end of next year, two main operators have confirmed.
Isle MP Andrew Percy continued the ‘Connect the Isle’ campaign at recent meetings with mobile network operators.
He said he pressed the need for better network coverage with Paul Morris, Head of Government Affairs at Vodafone, then Dan Perlet, Director of Corporate and Financial Affairs at EE (Everything Everywhere) and John Carwardine, EE Community Affairs Manager.
Vodafone and O2 said they are to share infrastructure in the future, meaning that customers on both networks should see better service across the Isle in 2015.
Everything Everywhere said that over the next 18 months their 4G coverage on the Isle will match the current 2G coverage, making the internet accessible in areas where texts and calls are possible now.
The phone giants agreed to look at signal problems in Epworth, and will decide whether they can address this using 800MHz spectrum. This solution could allow the signal to extend further with better penetration of buildings for indoor coverage. The 4G connectivity should bring speedy internet access on 4G enabled smartphones.
Mr Percy said, “Residents are increasingly using mobile phones for work as well as personal use, yet rural areas have been getting a raw deal. However, my meetings with Vodafone, EE and response from O2 were very positive. It looks like we’re going to see expanded coverage on the Isle which should fill in many of the gaps in coverage that residents currently encounter.
“I started this campaign after local residents raised concerns, and pressed the networks on just how important this issue is for Isle residents and businesses. I will meet with Three next week.”