60 Day Mobile Phone Failure On Luing

The same January storm which knocked out Islay’s mobile phone coverage left neighbouring Luing without cover for 60 days the Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry, chaired by Alan Reid MP, heard. Vodfafone's Senior Regulatory Manager for Scotland said "It is unacceptable and we apologise".

Luing lies near Mull where a mast plays a vital role in providing service for neighbouring islands.

Mr Reid told the Vodafone representatives at the committee hearing that the Luing signal failed on 12 January and was supposedly fixed on 16 March, but islanders reported otherwise.

Colin Scott, Senior Regulatory Manager for Scotland said: “This is the one that the first responders went to. We are aware of it. Again, it is conditions. It has taken time. There have been a lot of spare part issues, trying to get things fixed. There is also the access to the island. The site in Mull was the one I referred to earlier, where our engineers were stuck for three days without a change of clothes. They were trying to get up that coastline.

“It is unacceptable and we apologise. It is obviously not in our interests to deliver poor service to customers.”

Alan Reid questioned this: “Because it is a remote area with a low population, presumably you get very few calls made. Have you just decided that the cost of carrying out the repair is more than the cost of the calls you will lose?”

Mr Scott denied this: “Absolutely not. We do not make that judgment at all. We try to get to all our cell sites, regardless of whether they are in central Glasgow, central London or Argyll and Bute.”

He added that cities had more cell sites: “Unfortunately in Argyll and Bute, local communities tend to rely on one site and when that goes down they feel the impact more than in a city centre location.”

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