Residents’ rage at rural phone signal problems

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Mobile phone network Vodafone has received a number of complaints after Aboyne residents were left without a signal for a week.

Little or no mobile phone coverage in the Aboyne area was first reported on Friday, January 9, with signal restored on Friday January 16.

Residents claimed this was the second time in recent months in which they had found themselves without a Vodafone signal for over a week, with the previous issue lasting 10 days.

Aboyne and Upper Deeside & Donside councillor Peter Argyle said: “There has been a poor signal in Aboyne since November but it has got much worse since the New Year, although I know from my own experience that the Vodafone coverage in Aboyne has been unreliable for longer than that.

“I understand the problem lies with one of their masts. I have been in discussion with the council to see what can be done to encourage Vodafone to rectify the problem and I am aware that residents have also contacted our MP, Sir Robert Smith.

“In rural areas, good mobile coverage is essential. I would urge Vodaphone to address this problem as a matter of urgency.”

Sir Robert Smith MP said: “Following concerns raised by constituents about the Vodafone signal in Aboyne I raised the issue with the Chief Executive of Vodafone. I understand that the service was working again on Friday. I am, also, contacting the regulator, Ofcom, to clarify what obligation there is on mobile phone companies to maintain the quality of their network and what compensation arrangements are in place for customers who cannot use the service they have paid for.

“I will be meeting with Vodafone on Wednesday 21 January in Westminster to discuss rural community connections.”

Angry customers took to social media to express their frustration with some Deeside customers saying they had cancelled their contact with the mobile provider as a result of the ongoing issues.

A spokesperson for Vodafone said: “We’re sorry some of our customers in the Aboyne area have been experiencing signal problems recently.

“A local mast has developed a fault on the link which connects it, and a nearby mast, to the rest of the network. The links are owned and managed by BT and their engineers are working on the problem currently and hope to get the mast up and running shortly.

“The location of the mast meant we had arrange for traffic management which caused some delays to dealing with the problem.”