MOBILE PHONE USERS in Moray and all rural areas of Scotland could be in line for a better deal as a result of a long running campaign championed by Moray’s MP.
Angus Robertson and his SNP colleague at Westminster, Inverness MP Drew Hendry, have called on the UK Government to back a fairer deal for mobile phone users who receive a poor or non-existent signal.
Now the minister for culture and digital economy, Ed Vaizey, has responded to SNP pressure in the House of Commons by instructing his officials to identify what needs to be done to solve the issue.
In a letter to Mr Hendry the minister agreed that customers should be able to quit mobile telephone contracts where the level of service is unacceptable – in the same way that recent changes have allowed broadband customers to exit from deals without penalty.
Mr Vaizey wrote: “Mobile customers should not be trapped in contracts if they have no effective signal and an unusable service.
“I agree having access to reliable mobile coverage is vital for consumers, businesses and the economy – my officials will work with Ofcom to identify what needs to be done, including whether additional obligations need to be imposed on mobile providers to ensure that customers are treated fairly.”
Angus Robertson last month called on mobile phone companies to provide information on their investment plans for Moray, saying that while companies had said there would be investment to improve coverage they had been holding back on exactly what that means.
The MP said: “While commercial sensitivity is an issue, given they are competing in the marketplace I still believe they can do far better in making it clearer to subscribers.”
At the weekend Mr Hendry said he was “absolutely delighted” at the response from Mr Vaizey: “It is a fantastic victory for mobile users in rural areas.
“It is only fair and proper that this protection, which already exists for broadband and landline users, is extended to mobile phone contracts. If you don’t have a signal you should not have to pay.”