MP calls for mobile phone trial

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Western Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has met with the Chair and CEO of Faroes Føroya Telecom, the Faroese telecom company that operates mobile phone telephony in the Faroe Islands, along with Huw Saunders from Ofcom, to discuss further developments for expanding mobile phone networks in Scotland, particularly in the Scottish Islands.

Mr MacNeil said: “This was a very interesting meeting to get an island based telecom company with the UK’s regulator Ofcom to discuss bringing mobile phone telephony to areas where the UK market is clearly failing.

“It is very interesting to know that in the Faroe Islands with a population of only 50,000 which is double that of the Outer Hebrides, there is a mobile phone company operating which has already completed a 3G roll-out of 50 masts, including full signal in their two undersea tunnels.

“At the moment they are rolling out, over a six month period, 120 masts and 4G which will be completed by July 2016 across the entire Faroe Islands.

“Some preliminary scoping that has been done by Faroes Telecom would indicate that one of the island groups of Scotland should manage to bring 4G with only about 25 masts given the high speed broadband which is arriving in the islands.

“I am anxious along with some other Scottish MPs to help bring forward a trial on one of the island groups so that we can demonstrate that improvements can be made in mobile phone telephony and start to bring us up to the standards which the Faroe Islands have, with its far more challenging geography than we have in Scotland.

“Key to this will be the reaction of the UK Government in trying to find ways of enabling this to happen because at the moment, clearly the model and the market in the UK has failed our island groups. However, there is hope if they take this opportunity to work with us and Faroes Telecom.”

Pictured are Angus MacNeil MP with Johan Mortensen, Føroya Telecom, Ómar Svavarsson, Føroya Telecom, Jan Ziskasen, Føroya Telecom, Huw Saunders, Ofcom and Páll Versturbu, Føroya Telecom.