Mobile signal survey: Implications

7:     Implications

Mobile telephones have become an important part of most people’s lives and there is a general expectation that people can be contacted by mobile device.

7.1:     Negative impact on business

For businesses trying to keep in contact with their employees or people who work from home, poor connectivity can cause serious problems that affect people’s ability to do their job or retain customers. Many of our respondents mentioned problems missing critical calls.

7.2:     Social isolation

Social isolation is a concern for people whose mobile devices only function away from their homes, and where friends and family expect to use their mobile phone as a primary means of communication.

7.3:     Blocking access to online services

Of particular concern are recent moves towards ‘two-factor authentication’ where one-time passwords or codes are sent by SMS text message to customers in order to log-in or approve transactions. This is can be a problem for everything from signing up to services online to important financial transactions.

All banks, for example, are required to implement ‘strong customer authentication’ by March 2021, and many are choosing to do this by SMS codes. However, it is important to note that the Financial Conduct Authority has stated that it is not acceptable for banks to insist on SMS being the only authentication method, and alternative methods must be available[1]. A report from one of the respondents of a bank refusing to call a ‘short’[2] but perfectly valid number is, for example, unacceptable.

7.4:     Lack of connectivity in case of power failure

WiFi and VOIP calling helps many of the respondents get around poor signal, but these fail if there is a power cut and some respondents mentioned that their broadband internet connection is unstable.

At present, most houses in Avonwick have a PSTN telephone line that will continue to provide a basic telephone service even if the mains power fails. However, the PSTN network is due to be withdrawn in 2025, and it is not yet clear if the replacement systems will retain functionality without mains power[3]. Unless the signal problems are sorted by this date, there is a real danger that the residents of Avonwick will be left unable to summon help from their homes when the power fails.

[1] and

[2] Landlines in Avonwick are on the South Brent (01364) exchange, usually with five-figure numbers in the 72xxx and 73xxx number ranges. This is one of 40 exchanges with ‘short’ numbers.


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