Northern Isles MP, Alistair Carmichael, has presented a bill in Parliament to give customers greater rights to cancel mobile phone contracts due to poor signal and increase the transparency of the service providers.
Mr Carmichael’s Mobile Telecommunications Network Coverage (Contractual Obligations) Bill seeks to ensure the big operators provide more information about coverage to prospective consumers; and allows them greater means to cancel their contracts due to poor signal.
Mr Carmichael’s Bill was unopposed in the Commons and will receive a Second Reading on 4th March 2016.
In his speech in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael said:
Many of the communities that I represent are those which because of their size of population and their distance from larger centres of population could derive most benefit from good connectivity.
Unfortunately they are always the last see any improvement.
Speak to the Doctors, the Health Visitors, the Vets and other professionals serving these communities and they will tell you;
Speak to the farmers, the fish farmers, the people running their business from home and they will tell you;
Speak to the families struggling to raise a young child with complex medical needs or to care for elderly relatives and they will tell you;
They will all tell you the same thing - social and economic development in some of our most fragile communities is being hampered by the lack of mobile connectivity.
Commenting afterwards Mr Carmichael said:
“Frustrated for too long with the lack of mobile signal, and the wasted millions spent on ‘boosting’ infrastructure, I think the patience of people in the Northern Isles has finally reached an end. Mobile phone companies have, frankly, been insulting their customers’ intelligence with claims that they provide sufficient services in rural areas.
“That is one of the reasons why I have chosen to push for a change in the law to allow consumers greater powers to cancel contracts on the ground of poor mobile service. I want to see an end to extortionate termination fees, unrealistic signal tests and the roadblocks that these companies put up to hold people into contracts.
“This is also about fairness. Families and businesses in the Northern Isles have a right to decent, quality mobile service just as much as anyone living in an urban area. Fairness also means ending the gulf between these big corporate organisations and the consumers. A recent survey by consumer watchdog Which? showed that Vodafone, EE, O2 and BT were amongst the least popular and trusted companies in the UK – when you hear some of their excuses for poor mobile coverage and terrible customer service you are hardly surprised.”