Mobile phone Companies’ ‘cherry picking’ of Coverage Areas Needs To Be Addressed.

In the chamber today I highlighted the fact that mobile phone companies are cherry picking the areas they supply 4G coverage to and are thus leaving many areas- especially rural areas -behind. This is simply unacceptable

The current mobile voice and data obligations are based on population and do not amount to universal geographical coverage. ComReg imposes population coverage requirements of 70% in order for companies to fulfill their licenses. This type of requirement allows them to leave out the more sparsely populated communities.

Under the 2012 licenses all operators have to reach 70% of the population with newer 4G coverage. Even though many operators exceed this obligation many are continuing to deliberately omit rural areas, leaving them with slower 2G coverage or no coverage at all.

The continuation of operators leaving rural areas behind in coverage and upgrades not only harms individuals but also the businesses that are based in these areas. Without sufficient coverage businesses are not able to fully compete with their more urban counterparts. Mandating the coverage of the entire population, no matter how rural, and ending operator cherry picking is a necessity to Ireland. As such, I have called on the Minister of Communications to address the issue as a matter of priority.

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