A “two-tier system” could emerge within the north-east if mobile phone coverage is not improved, an MSP has warned.
The message from North East MSP Mike Rumbles follows the publication of research from consumer organisation Which?
It shows some parts of rural Aberdeenshire are lagging behind areas of the city when it comes to signal strengths.
The research found Aberdeen North was one of only three areas of Scotland that has complete 4G coverage on the UK’s four mobile networks – Three, O2, EE and Vodafone. However, just 44.6% of West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine towns and villages have 4G Coverage.
The figure is 48.2% in Angus, 41.6% in Moray and that compares with 76.9% in Gordon and 87.5% in Banff and Buchan. Aberdeen South has a coverage rate of 96.1%.
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Mr Rumbles, the Scottish Liberal Democrats connectivity spokesman, who has campaigned for an end to patchy 4G signal, told the Evening Express: “The danger is that if action is not taken soon to deliver decent universal coverage across the whole of Scotland – whether it’s superfast broadband or 4G – we will end up with a two-tier system of connectivity.
“Some areas now have the next generation 5G and most locations in the city also have good coverage of 4G.
“But for many, particularly in rural parts of Aberdeenshire, coverage is still non-existent leaving some communities and businesses without access to the benefits and advantages of online services.”
He called on the UK Government to help telecommunication firms improve coverage.
A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: “We’ve made major changes to regulation and planning laws, making it cheaper and easier for industry to roll out or share masts.
“Improving mobile coverage in rural areas is a priority and we are considering all of the options available, including rural roaming, to facilitate this.”
Mobile UK, which represents telecommunication companies, said: “The industry has come together to propose a shared rural network, which will significantly reduce partial not-spots and extend coverage, and we call on the government to work with us to help achieve these goals.”