Michael Fabricant is putting forward a plan to the DTI that would do
much to solve the proliferation of mobile phone masts and the health
worries that ensue.
"The problem is that while some new phone mast construction is for the
new 3G – third generation – networks, some is to fill in holes in the
existing 2G – or GSM – service which most people use. And it is that
latter problem to which there is a solution" Michael explains. "In
Lichfield, for example, a major mobile phone network does not have good
coverage in the City centre while some other rival networks do. I am
discussing with the DTI a plan whereby mobile phone operators would
allow their customers to ‘roam’ within the UK just as they can abroad.
It would mean that if, say, a Vodafone network user could not pick up a
Vodafone signal, but could receive a rival network, the phone would
automatically switch to the new network.
"At the moment, roaming is only allowed for SOS or emergency calls, but
not for general use. This is madness. Roaming within the UK would mean
that no new 2G phone masts would need to be built except in the very few
remaining rural areas where there is still no signal at all. Every 2G
phone has the capacity for roaming: it works abroad when you take your
phone to another country. There is no technical reason why it shouldn’t
work here either.
"I know that the phone companies are not keen on the idea, but if the
Government cares about the environment and health fears – and I and
other MPs receive many letters from constituents on this subject –
they should encourage the phone companies to allow in-country roaming.
It works in the US. It would work here too" Michael adds.