Thousands Of Miles Of UK Road ‘Has No Phone Signal’

The RAC has warned that so-called mobile blackspots around the UK could be putting motorists’ lives at risk.

The firm has revealed that almost 2.600 miles of road around Britain do not even have 2G signal, needed for the most basic mobile operations such as making a call or sending a text message.

This means that around two percent of the total amount of the country’s road network has no coverage for motorists, meaning anyone suffering a breakdown would be stranded without being able to call for help.

At risk

The Scottish regions of Highland (452 miles of road with no coverage) and Argyll & Bute (293 miles) were in the top three worst-affected areas, as was the Welsh area of Powys (437 miles).

In England, Cumbria (252 miles), Devon (243 miles) and North Yorkshire (231 miles) were the least-covered regions, showing the sheer scale of the problem.

The RAC reported that some roads, including the A93 in Scotland, A149 in East Anglia, A494 in Wales and A591 in Cumbria, have no signal at all, making them a potentially risky destination for any drivers.

It also found that 14,554 miles of road (six percent of the UK total) has no 3G coverage, with an additional 111,679 miles of road (45 percent) only having partial 3G coverage.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given these figures, more than half (56 percent) of Britain’s road network was found to have no 4G coverage, with only just over a quarter (27 percent) having only partial coverage

The firm is now calling for swift action to rectify the blackspots, with the country’s phone networks urged to ensure their coverage reaches all parts of the country.

“Most of us like to think we are always just a mobile phone call away from help but even in a crowded, high-tech country like Britain the reality is somewhat different.

“Our work shows there are thousands of miles of road along which you would not want to break down or have an accident because calling the RAC, the emergency services or even home wouldn’t be an option. Even where there is partial network coverage it might not be from your network provider,” said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.

“And it’s not just in emergencies that we rely on our mobiles. Increasingly we drivers depend on our smart phones for everything from telling us how to get from A to B, to what the weather is going be, to where the congestion is.

“The concepts of connected cars and drivers is at the heart of much thinking about how we might make our travelling lives easier. But the best ideas in the world will fall at the first hurdle if there are no bars on the phone.”

What do you know about UK mobile operators? Find out with our quiz!

Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

View Comments

  • Wonder what the RAC thinks people did before mobiles and when cars were a lot less reliable than today!
    The problem is probably worse in that some areas might be only covered by a provided that you can't use. A situation hat could have been solved by simply forcing providers to accept traffic from other companies. But the regulator showed no backbone and caved into provider pressure. The consumer doesn't come first for OFCOM. We need a regulator to deal with organisations such as OFCOM who to an outsider seem to be in the pocket of the phone companies just as the financial regulator oversaw the financial crash.

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