Three-quarters of firms don’t have access to robust mobile internet coverage, says study

Almost three-quarters of firms report “patchy” or no mobile internet coverage in their local area, a study has revealed.

The research, published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), urges the Government to supply companies with the “basic requirements” to run a business.

While the issue was more widespread in countryside regions – with 90 per cent of firms reporting patchy signal – the problem was equally as apparent in cities, with 56 per cent complaining of poor signal.

Across all respondents, a third said their mobile connection was “generally unreliable”.

It further found that 42 per cent were unable to access 4G – the fastest mobile connection speed.

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said: “Time and again, I hear from frustrated businesspeople who can’t use their mobiles or access the internet when they need to.

“These are basic requirements for companies to work on the move, trade online, and connect with customers and suppliers.”

He said “not spots” – a play on highly connected internet hotspots – were prevalent across the UK, even in the City of London.

Earlier this year, Ofcom said all UK premises must receive a 4G signal by the end of 2017.

A spokesperson for Ofcom said: “We agree that mobile coverage must improve and understand the importance of having reliable mobile broadband, wherever people live and work.

“Ofcom rules mean that virtually all UK premises must receive a 4G signal by the end of this year.

“We’re also making available valuable new airwaves to boost mobile broadband, and have challenged mobile operators to explore how to reach all remote areas and transport lines.”

The BCC added that planning restrictions should be relaxed so taller mobile phone masts could be built, and said Ofcom should do more to hold providers to promises made about coverage in advertising.