According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland has the worst mobile coverage in the UK. Whilst major Scottish cities such as Edinburgh and Aberdeen have virtually full coverage, 38% of the Highlands have no 2G signal and 70% have no 3G signal.
The FSB made its remarks in a response to the Scottish Government’s proposals to simplify planning regulations in respect of phone masts and thus help the roll out of improved mobile coverage. The proposals would enable phone companies to make better use of existing sites. Scottish Planning Minister, Derek Mackay, said the proposals are part of "Scotland's journey to becoming a world-leading digital nation by 2020".
In response to the plans FSB spokesman, Andy Willox OBE said “Our members tell us that new technology will be vital to grow their business” adding “We must get to grips with this problem before our businesses lose out to better connected competitors.”
The advent of mobile, and even smart, phones has opened up the smallest of businesses to the wider world. We now take it for granted that we can phone anyone from anywhere but even in places where there is good mobile coverage, some businesses are losing out to competitors thanks to their choice of phone number. That is because 0800 numbers which are generally free from landlines can still be charged at high rates when called from a mobile.
To overcome this problem, businesses may decide to opt for an 03 number. These non-geographic numbers are charged at the same rate as 01 and 02 numbers. This means that they generally form part of the “free minutes” option on both landline and mobile call packages. 03 numbers are available to both businesses (0333) and charities (0300) and can be easily called from outside the UK using the standard UK dialling prefix.
When the world is open to business, to be competitive business needs to open itself to the world. Opting for an 03 number is one way in which a business can encourage potential customers to call, whether from landline or from mobile. This means that, provided the mobile signal coverage is there, UK businesses can reach out to customers at home and abroad, making contact easy and quick, as well as helping to boost the economy.