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The government's plan to tackle mobile broadband 'not-spots' has come in for fierce criticism from technology analyst Ovum.

According to the firm's Matthew Howett, the proposal for national roaming is "a messy solution that ought to be abandoned".

Earlier this week, the government informed mobile operators they will have to work together to increase UK mobile coverage.

Under the plan, they will be required to let all consumers use their networks, allow rival companies to put transmitters on their masts, and support virtual networks for companies without their own infrastructure.

In addition, there will be an obligation for mobile operators to cover a certain percentage of the UK.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Howett said the cost, complexity and side-effects of national roaming make it "an unworkable fix that the industry thought had been dropped".

"What needs to happen over the next month is collectively for the mobile operators to work with government to come up with an agreeable solution," he stated.

This needs to address both poor voice coverage, but also data too - to ensure consumers have widespread access to mobile broadband.

Mr Howett's comments were echoed by uSwitch.com's telecoms expert Ernest Doku, who called for "a far more considered approach" than telling the networks to share.

He welcomed the fact that mobile blackspots are on the political agenda, but questioned the logic behind the current plan to improve services.

“National roaming only tackles partial not-spots, so it would have no impact at all on people living in UK blackspots, where no coverage is available on any network," Mr Doku stated.

He said continued investment in UK network infrastructure is the best way to address this issue.

"Allowing networks to ride on the coat tails of others would remove any incentive for under-performing networks to invest in improving their existing infrastructure," Mr Doku warned.

He also claimed that consumers could see a financial knock-on effect if the government forces national roaming through.

Mr Doku explained that the broadband providers with the best coverage will be hit, and this may force them to increase their bills in a bid to recoup losses.

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