Almost 20 percent of UK roads suffer from little-to-no mobile signal

While governments and operators prepare for 5G, the UK still has over 49,000 miles of road with poor or no mobile signal.

A study conducted by the RAC Foundation has found two percent of UK roads (over 5,500 miles) are unable to receive a mobile signal from any of the nation’s four mobile networks.

The inability to receive a signal is at best a mild annoyance due to problems such as potential lack of navigation, at worst the inability to call for help in a breakdown or accident.

Among the worst covered local authorities include:

  • Highland (910 miles of road with no voice coverage)

  • Powys (411 miles)

  • Argyll & Bute (388 miles)

  • Cumbria (296 miles)

  • Dumfries & Galloway (266 miles)

  • North Yorkshire (219 miles)

  • Gwynedd (213 miles)

  • Na h-Eileanan Siar (207 miles)

  • Scottish Borders (192 miles)

  • Devon (190 miles)

Overall, 90 local authorities suffer from one or more stretches of road where there is no voice signal available.

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“The good news is that mobile coverage has improved a great deal across our road network. On our motorways, which carry around a fifth of all traffic, every mile should now have voice and basic data coverage plus a 4G signal for all but a couple of miles.

As rapidly as the technology has advanced, so too have our expectations of enjoying uninterrupted connectivity.

Hopes are high that autonomous and connected vehicles will make our roads safer and help cut congestion, but that is dependent on those vehicles being able to communicate with each other and the infrastructure around them. This analysis shows that there is still work to be done to make constant and comprehensive coverage a reality.”

The study highlighted a further whopping 44,368 miles of road with only partial voice coverage, and not all the operators providing a signal. This represents 18 percent of all UK roads.

Finally, an additional 66,619 miles could only receive a 3G signal from some operators. When it comes to 4G, just 51 percent of UK roads are covered.

With 5G on the way and the UK posturing to be a leader, it’s a startling reminder of how poor the nation’s current infrastructure still remains despite significant improvements in recent years.

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