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Ending the rural mobile blackspots: ministers mull plans for UK national roaming

Mobile phone blackspots in rural areas that leave people with calls being cut off mid-conversation could become a thing of the past under plans reportedly being discussed by ministers.

Negotiations are said to be taking place with mobile phone operators about 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.

The move would be good news for hundreds of thousands of people but could provoke resistance from mobile phone companies over sharing mobile phone masts with rivals.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: "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 £150 million to improve mobile coverage in areas where there is currently no coverage from any of the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

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

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