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Losing Signal, Customers & Possibly Lives

After little to no mobile reception on the Vodafone network in Penicuik, local customers are pleading with Vodafone for compensation or even a formal apology. The matter has now intensified as Penicuik First Responders struggle to receive and make calls.

The worldwide mobile phone and broadband network has come under fire after failing to inform customers in the EH26 area about intermittent problems to the reception that could result in a concoction of problems. These range from no connection at all to only 2g connection to not being able to make outbound calls.

We have now received word from several individuals who are experiencing problems and their locations have been placed on the map below. However there is one major service in Penicuik that are experiencing problems. Our town’s First Responders have been struggling to make and receive calls from the ambulance service resulting in delays in getting to, and possibly saving, patients.

Vodafone 20:3 Map
Locations of our sources’ problems. Vodafone logo shows the location of the mast.

After our investigation it also seems that there’s no location restriction either so no matter where you are you could incur problems. However the further from the mast you are (indicated above) you are more likely to have a better chance of a more useful signal. This is explained below, from the mouth of Vodafone themselves:

The issue is with the growth of trees. The mast depends on ‘line of sight’ between it and the next mast to link it into the network.   The signal is low-powered by nature and any obstruction will block it.  The trees have grown high enough to disrupt the signal and, because the growth is so dense, trimming them isn’t an option.

However as the mast emits radiowaves, that can bend round obstructions, if you are further from the mast in South Penicuik, you will have a normal signal. Unfortunately if live in South Penicuik the waves can’t bend enough to reach you all the time so you will have no signal or intermittent signal.

Vodafone have not explained any of the other problems but they did tell us that there is no quick fix and customers will be left experiencing problems for a time whilst planning applications are sought for an extension to the mast to allow it to transmit over the top of the trees:

We are currently investigating the possibility of raising the height of the link. This means gaining the agreement of the regulator.

They did offer an apology to their customers but there was no mention of compensation:

We know how frustrating this if for our customers and we are doing everything we can to get the site back up and running.

So at the moment it seems if you live in south Penicuik you better beware that Penicuik’s local trees don’t want you to contact anyone outside the town.