Only three constituencies in Scotland – Aberdeen North, Glasgow North West and Glasgow South West – had complete 4G coverage from all four operators, according to the investigation by consumer group Which?.
While rural Scotland and Wales still have Britain’s lowest levels of mobile coverage, many areas that include large towns and cities are also poorly served when it comes to receiving comprehensive 4G mobile coverage.
Currently, only 67 per cent of the UK’s geographical area has 4G coverage from all four operators, while eight per cent has no 4G mobile coverage at all. Edinburgh South West is one of the constituency areas which does not have full coverage, alongside both Dundee East and West.
Access to telecommunications is the responsibility of UK ministers, however the Scottish Government has invested £25 million to improve mobile coverage through the Scottish 4G Infill Programme.
Discussions between the government and mobile operators recently have centred on a plan to expand digital infrastructure in specific areas into a single network asset that all operators can use and share.
This Shared Rural Network would take 4G landmass coverage from all operators from the current level of 67 per cent to 92 per cent but plans are yet to be finalised. Which? believes the government must stick to its 95 per cent target and ensure 4G coverage from all four operators – so that people have access to reliable coverage at home, work and on the move from a choice of operators, and are able to get a package that suits their needs.
Caroline Normand, Which? director of advocacy, said: “Millions of people are finding it difficult to get a reliable mobile connection and risk missing out on digital services we increasingly rely on, like online banking, maps and NHS information – while some even struggle to receive important calls and messages.
“To tackle this unacceptable and widening digital divide, the government must act now to connect the UK with truly comprehensive mobile and broadband by swiftly putting in place a plan to give communities the infrastructure they need.”
In a separate survey, Which? found that half of people said they experienced patchy mobile phone signal at least once a month.
Over half of those who experienced a lack of mobile phone coverage in the last three months said they experienced a significant impact as a result – the most common being the inability to make or receive important phone calls or messages.
A quarter of those who experienced a lack of mobile phone coverage in the last three months said they felt stressed as a result.