Na h-Eileanan and Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil met with representatives from the mobile operator EE, the company which runs the EE, Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK. The meeting took place at the summit of Forsnaval, Uig on the Isle of Lewis, and discussed the importance of providing a resilient mobile service to customers on the island.

The site meeting was held on Friday 6th September and Darren Brooker, Head of Managed Services at EE attended the meeting along with Stuart Hilton, from Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL).  Also in attendance was Gareth Hall from Ericsson, who have responsibility for maintaining the network.

Commenting Angus MacNeil said:

“EE customers in Uig have recently experienced some problems with the mobile signal, caused by technical faults to the local site. These have taken days and, in some cases weeks, to resolve, often due to challenges the operator has had in gaining access to the site.

“Having discussed the issues with EE, I was pleased that EE sent representatives to the site in Uig and I welcome that they acknowledge the difficulties faced by customers.

“I was pleased to be able to attend this meeting so as I could relay personally how difficult it is for customers when faults occur with the mobile signal.  In larger cities, when there is a fault, there are other sites that can cover, this is not an option for us.  Many customers are left isolated without their mobile, whether that is for personal or business use.

“Another issue which was discussed was the matter of gaining access to sites.  Many mobile mast sites are owned by NATS.  I understand that because of bureaucracy days are lost waiting for access to be granted before the fault can by repaired.  Mobile operators should have 24/7 access to these sites without being held hostage financially.  It should not take up to a week, as it has done previously to get to a site to check the equipment.  At the end of the day, it is the customer who is suffering and NATS have a social responsibility to speed up the process.

“Finally, EE tell me that they will continue to find ways to improve the resilience of the site in Uig.”