Influential British MPs are urging mobile phone companies to allow their customers to roam between networks in areas of the UK with poor reception.
The British Infrastructure Group says it is not right that foreign visitors to the UK are getting better coverage than residents.
Because visitors are not tied to one particular network, they are able to use the strongest available signal, with customers in some parts of the UK are left struggling to make calls, send texts and access the internet.
According to the report, there are a staggering 17 million of customers who have inadequate reception at home and there are 525 areas which have no coverage at all.
Mobile phone bosses say they are doing what they can to improve coverage across the UK.
However, the group of backbenchers, which includes MPs from all major political parties says action is not being taken quickly enough. They are proposing that the easiest and quickest solution would be to allow roaming, so that customers’ phones can use another operator’s network if their own is not working well in a certain area.
The group of MPs is made up of around 90 people, who are saying it is time the law changed to make roaming possible in the UK.
They also want it to be cheaper and easier for customers to switch provider.
The report says that mobile phone coverage across the UK has seen no real improvements in the two years since a £5bn investment deal was agreed between mobile networks and the Government.
Improvements have been promised in a bid to make the UK more connected, and would be particularly beneficial for those in rural areas who struggle currently to get reception. Better coverage is seen as vital for the rural economy to enable people to work where they live, either setting up businesses or working from home.
Grant Shapps, chairman of the working group, said: “It is unacceptable that areas in Britain continue to have such poor mobile connectivity, and that overseas visitors can expect better mobile coverage than Britons stuck with a single provider.
“The time for excuses from the mobile sector is over. The government must make a better call for Britain and bring national mobile coverage policy into the 21st Century.”
Mr Shapps said he had been forced to use a foreign SIM card during election campaigning, to make sure he could get a signal as he travelled across the UK.