MOBILE PHONE USERS in a Speyside community who have been left with no service for almost two weeks are demanding answers on why they are being given conflicting information.
Mobile customers served by EE, Orange or Three Mobile in the Aberlour area have been unable to use their devices since they ceased receiving a signal on Sunday, November 8.
Customers contacting the companies for assistance have been given different reasons for the outage – and varying timescales on when service might be restored.
Aberlour resident Greg Sarab told insideMoray: “I called the Three customer service desk the day after the signal was lost and was told that they were upgrading the tower to ‘improve our service’ in the area – and that the service would be restored by the end of that day.
“When there was still no service the following day, I called again and was told that it would be three more days. We still had no service on Friday – and this time I was told it would take another week before the issue was resolved.
“This week I have been told that it will be another nine days – with one of my calls producing an excuse that a power connection had been damaged and the delay was being caused by the need to obtain proper permits.”
Discussing the issue with neighbours Mr Sarab learned that the landowner of the property on which the local mobile tower was located had been “out of town and unreachable” – and that as the owner’s permission was required a repair team could not enter the area on which the tower was located.
Mr Sarab added that many customers in the area had been told by calls to the mobile help desks that the outage was not the fault of EE (who took over the Orange service) and Three – and as such “was not their responsibility to either solve or compensate” for the issue.
Mr Sarab added: “I was initially told I could not be given a home signal device that would have solved the problem – but on repeated complaints I was offered the device, which was due to arrive last Thursday.
“It did not arrive – and when I called again I was told that it had not been ordered. I did finally receive the device this week and so am able to receive calls and texts inside my home. I was also offered the option to exit my current contract without penalty.”
Several other residents have not been so lucky, however, having been told that they would not receive the home service devices and advised that the current outage was not grounds either for them to be released from an existing contract.
Last night insideMoray contacted local MP Angus Robertson, who has for several years been campaigning for better mobile services in his constituency.
Mr Robertson said: “It is very concerning to learn that a community this size has been so badly affected and are being denied any sort of mobile signal for such an extended period of time.
“It is also of great concern that this outage is affecting customers on different networks and that they are being given conflicting information. I would expect all mobile providers to meet their obligations to their customers, provide them with accurate information and help in any way they can.
“I will be in touch with the companies concerned to find out why this has happened and why it is taking so long to put things right.”
An EE spokesperson told insideMoray: “We are aware of service issues currently affecting the Aberlour area, which have been caused by significant damage to an electrical cable powering the site.
“We are working closely with the local electrical and power supply companies to support a fix as quickly as possible.”
A spokesman for Three also said sorry to customers but was equally unable to give a timescale for repairs, saying: “Services in the Aberlour area are being affected due to a third party fault.
“We are working with the supplier to get the issue resolved and we apologise for any inconvenience currently being experienced by our customers.”