Feeds

Consumer Panel recommends try before buy mobiles

Possible lifeline for not-spot dwellers

Best practices for enterprise data

Punters should be able to sign a mobile contract then revoke it if the coverage isn't up to scratch, according to recommendations from The Communications Consumer Panel.

The recommendation comes out of research that found 56 per cent of UK-mobile-phone users have experienced a lack of coverage, with a third having regular problems getting voice calls, let alone mobile broadband. However, the same research discovered that one per cent of mobile users "regularly" make video calls, so best not to take it too seriously.

The researchers asked 2000 people and 300 businesses about their mobile phone experiences and found that most of them had complaints of some sort (detailed pdfs available for consumers and businesses). The Panel reckons Ofcom has been so busy talking about mobile broadband that the regulator is neglecting basic voice services, which are actually more important to ordinary people.

Users complained to the Panel about dropped calls and simply finding themselves in spaces without any mobile coverage - 36 per cent of mobile users reckon they've been in a not-spot, with 18 per cent regularly wandering into radio voids.

Even allowing for the British predisposition towards complaining, those are damning figures - though the same questionnaire (pdf) discovered that five per cent of users make video calls on their phones, one per cent of them regularly. This hardly tallies with our experience, as we are yet to see anyone making a video call outside a technical demonstration.

The Communications Consumer Panel is appointed by Ofcom, but makes recommendations based on independent research from the customers' point of view. It is recommending that those buying a mobile phone should be allowed to take it home for a few days, after which they can return it for a full refund if the coverage isn't good enough.

The Panel also reckons that the legal issues around mobile telephony need clearing up. They point out that a ringtone paid for through a premium text is monitored by PhonepayPlus, while the same transaction completed by Credit Card falls outside their remit, which is unnecessarily confusing.

Ofcom did get praise for changing its coverage calculations: since August this year an operator has to provide signal in 90 per of a postcode to consider it covered, as opposed to the 75 per cent that was previously required. That drops England's 2G coverage to 99 per cent, Wales to 92 per cent, and leaves Scotland with only 89 per cent of postcodes covered, though even that leaves up to ten per cent of every postcode without coverage.

Which is what prompts the recommendation that customers should be able to return handsets. But while the recommendation might seem eminently sensible, it is unlikely that Ofcom has the appetite for a significant contest of wills with the operators right now. ®

Recommendations for simplifying OS migration

More from The Register

next story
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms
Readers chat to the pair who flog the tech
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?