UK government plans to tackle mobile phone signal blackspots

Under new plans mobile network operators could be forced to share their networks in the more rural areas of the United Kingdom.

Many of Britain's rural areas only have one, two or even no network provider covering that area, but that could all change soon if the government passes plans that will enable a user to switch to another network if they lose signal with their own provider.

The plan is to be called 'National roaming' and it will work in similar fashion to what happens when you use your phone abroad. If you're out of range with your network provider your device will search for another network that will give you a better signal.

Despite UK ministers being keen to push National roaming through, early signs suggest it has not gone down too well with mobile phone operators.

They are claiming that if customers are allowed to switch between providers, then it will reduce the incentive for these providers to continue improving the range of their network.

Operators such as O2, Vodafone and Three would be able to use each other’s signal as a fall back plan, rather than building new networks masts themselves.

A spokesperson for the department of culture, media and sport (DCMS) told the BBC: "The government has made clear it wants to ensure the UK has world-class mobile phone coverage as part of our investment in infrastructure for the long-term economic plan.

"We are investing up to £150m to improve mobile coverage in areas where there is currently no coverage from any of the Mobile Network Operators.

"Of course we want to look at what more can be done in areas with poor coverage."