Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Communications Minister to stop shirking his responsibilities and put measures in place to tackle the poor mobile phone coverage throughout the country.

Deputy Smith is proposing a universal service obligation to guarantee a minimum standard for mobile phone services throughout the state.

He commented, “Mobile phone coverage is a serious problem the length and breadth of this country.  Despite claims by some operators that they provide 90% population coverage, the reality is very different.  Even in some urban centres, mobile signals can be weak and drop-outs are a common occurrence.

“It seems completely farcical that in this day and age, and with all the technological advances that have been achieved over the past decade, we still cannot rely on decent mobile phone coverage.  The situation in rural Ireland is particularly bad but it’s not uncommon for mobile users to lose coverage on our motorways.  It’s a ridiculous situation that you might have to call someone two or three times to have a conversation.  The whole point of a mobile service is just that – that it’s mobile.

“We need a universal service obligation to be introduced to ensure a quality mobile service for all parts of the country.  Other European countries have been able to tackle this issue and we need to learn from their example and ensure a quality service can be provided here.

“I am calling on Minister Naughten to begin taking decisive action on this issue, implement a universal service obligation and ensure a quality, secure mobile service across the country”.