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Mobile ‘notspots’: a smarter ‘demand driven’ approach is needed

05 November 2014


Poor mobile phone reception in the British countryside is to be tackled under government plans that could force telecom groups to open networks in rural areas to rivals’ customers.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) believes that focusing exclusively on mobile operators sharing networks in this particular way (there are other ways) is only part of the issue.

Prof Will Stewart from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said: “With technology developing at such a pace, with 4G rollout going well and 5G just around the corner, it may not be practical or affordable to expect network providers to deliver the performance and continuity of service that people and businesses need in the longer term without significant changes.

“While more infrastructure, more sharing and more spectrum will all be needed, this will not be enough.  We need to radically change our approach to focus on what people want to do over the networks in order to meet the continuing needs of all users, including those in rural areas. For example there is likely to be a huge growth in video streaming over the next few years. Economic benefits would be gained from smarter networks using technology to respond specifically to this new behavioural trend.

“We need Demand Attentive Networking, as we call it, which will entail mobile phone operators, legislators, content owners and regulators working together to agree technical standards, network architecture and smart regulation that can adjust smarter networks in real time in response to individual users’ demands – rather than just attempting to have high capacity available everywhere, all the time.

“The result would be accessible network coverage for consumers and business when they need it, all delivered at a much lower cost for the mobile phone operators.”

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 27 countries. It is also the most multi-disciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.