Now ministers are considering relaxing planning rules on phone masts in a bid to boost mobile coverage across Scotland.
The Scottish Government is set to announce a consultation on whether existing regulations make it too difficult for phone companies to build new masts.
The move follows a report that found one-quarter of Scotland has no mobile phone coverage.
Researchers found thousands of so-called "no spots" in city centres as well as remote rural areas.
Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay is expected to launch the consultation next month.
A source said: "The aim is to expand the digital and mobile infrastructure while limiting the impact on the environment. But it is important to be clear that any consultation will take into account people's concerns. It's not about over-riding legitimate concerns, it's about finding a way forward.
"A consultation on removing barriers to expansion would respect the need to limit the impact on the environment, but look for ways to make it easier to expand coverage."
The rapid march of mobile phone masts in the 1990s and 2000s provoked a number of disputes as campaign groups fought to block planning applications.
However, ministers believe public attitudes have changed over the past decade.
Talks have already taken place between Scottish Government officials and the Mobile Operators Association (MOA), which represents phone companies.
A planning review was a key recommendation of the recent Government-backed report on mobile coverage in Scotland. It found 27.5% of Scotland was without basic 2G (second-generation technology) coverage, which allows calls to be made.
Even bigger swathes of the country have no 3G signal, which allows smartphones access to the internet and to send emails.
Mobile phones were virtually useless on many rail routes and country roads, including trunk roads. One road, the B709 in the Borders, has no 2G or 3G signal for 90% of its 60 miles.
The report concluded: "Significant improvements will be required before mobile communications in Scotland can fully meet customers' aspirations, particularly with the massive growth in use of smartphones and tablet devices."
A recent Scottish Government consultation found overwhelming support for ensuring broadband high-speed internet access in new developments.
The MOA has backed Holyrood plans to expand digital coverage but complained planning rules were more restrictive than in England. John Cooke, executive director of the MOA, said: "We would welcome a fresh look at telecoms planning."
Among other recommendations, the Government's report called for telecom regulator Ofcom and phone firms to set up roaming agreements across Scotland. The facility would automatically switch a phone user's network if the only coverage available was from a rival provider.
It also calls for a fuller audit of so-called "not spots".
Phone companies say 99.3% of the population could get a 2G signal in Scotland, compared with 99.8% in England.