Airwave is the way forward for mobile coverage, says Galbraith

Poor mobile phone reception across Argyll and Bute could quickly be transformed, Labour’s candidate for next year’s general election has said.

The area is ranked as one of the worst in the UK for mobile coverage – but weak reception, ‘not-spots’ with zero coverage and service outages lasting days could all be remedied, says Mary Galbraith.

She has established that Airwave – the emergency services network – can share its masts and base-stations with mobile phone operators and has written to EE, O2, Three and Vodafone asking them take up an offer from Airwave to share infrastructure and improve mobile coverage.

“Because it’s a vitally important network, providing virtually 100% coverage to the emergency services, Airwave masts and base stations are already in all the right places,” said Mary.

“They have invested heavily in the area, surveying sites, obtaining planning permission, putting in place road access and power supplies.”

The publicly-funded Airwave network is used by police, fire and ambulance services across the UK, providing officers and staff with communications handsets, vehicle units and mobile services.

“I’ve been in discussion with Airwave and have received confirmation that their base stations and masts can be shared with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, at only relatively small cost to the mobile phone companies for their own energy usage, and available with immediate effect,” said Mary.

“So they have no excuses – there is nothing to stop mobile phone companies improving transmission in the area now.”