Hopes have been raised that mobile phone users in Moray might enjoy greatly improved network coverage and a more sympathetic ear to their complaints.
Last year Moray MP Angus Robertson sought information from constituents over which areas were suffering particularly badly from poor network coverage or, in several cases, non-existent coverage.
After collating the resulting information he met with representatives from leading UK mobile company EE, who undertook to conduct an investigation into the issues.
Last month the MP again raised the issue when he had still to hear from EE months after his initial meeting – and that produced a response that Mr Robertson described as “positive”.
In a letter to the MP, EE confirmed that they have already carried out some improvement work where possible – and apologised for not communicating that earlier. The company also confirmed that a collective agreement between mobile operators in the UK had resulted in a promised £5billion investment programme aimed at improving geographic coverage of the UK’s mobile network.
That would include increasing full network coverage for all four operators from the current 69% to 85% – with voice and text services available to 90% of geographical areas of the country.
Mobile operators also say that a new system will roll out allowing mobile calls over WiFi – empowering WiFi hotspots to become a mobile signal and transfer calls seamlessly.
Mr Robertson said: “While the response has taken longer than it should have it is, in fact, a pretty positive one.
“I can report to constituents who have raised mobile coverage issues with me and I welcome the substantial additional investment by EE and other operators to improve coverage and reliability of mobile signals for both calls and data.
“EE have indicated that they are keen to help their customers deal with specific ‘not-spot’ issues and have said that they can call them on their 150 Customer Services number or they are happy to take further complaints through my Constituency Office in Elgin.
“At least some of the issues I have raised on behalf of constituents have been resolved and there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the others that are still outstanding.
“People are not unreasonable when it comes to mobile phone coverage and if you are in a very rural area surrounded by hills then the coverage is obviously more challenging – but in other areas, particularly in population centres, patchy coverage can seem inexplicable.
“Hopefully the ongoing investment will tackle and resolve that.”
The MP added that he would welcome further feedback from constituents outlining where things have improved or where there are continuing issues.