Have you ever been in a place with a group of people and found that some of you have signal while others do not? Usually it’s because you’re not all on the same network and different networks have different areas of coverage.
For a few months the government has been negotiating with the ‘big four’ phone networks (O2, E, Vodafone, Three) to try and set up a scheme called ‘national roaming’ i.e. the ability for users to piggyback onto another network’s signal when they are out of range of their usual network. If you’ve ever used networks abroad you’ll know its possible to switch with the click of a button, and that’s how national roaming would work.
The problem is that networks have resisted taking part in a voluntary scheme, and now the government, or specifically Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, is considering legislation that would force them to be involved.
A source from Whitehall said:
“We want to eradicate this situation of partial not-spots … There is expected to be a consultation in the coming days and this could include a legislative option. If these companies do not change, we might force them to change.”
So we might end up with the possibility of piggybacking onto another network’s signal happening in the near future, regardless of whether or not the networks are happy about it or not.
Image: Clive Darr via Wikimedia Commons