Belfast Telegraph

Fury after sudden shutdown of Glens mobile network

By Claire McNeilly

A leading mobile phone company has been accused of putting lives at risk after it withdrew its network services without warning its customers.

Scores of people — including the vulnerable and elderly — cannot use their mobiles after a Co Antrim radio mast was suddenly switched off.

Mountain rescue teams, farmers, carers and tourists in the Glenariff Forest Park area have all been affected by the decision.

Catherine Crawford, who owns a farm in the area, said that more than 30 mobiles haven’t been working in the Glens since last week. “This is an utter disaster for the region and we are completely shocked that a big mobile phone company could act so irresponsibly,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.

East Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan said that he had been contacted by people in distress who had received no advance warning.

“The rescue teams and the farming community all rely on the mobile network,” he said.

“The problem is there is only one mast which is shared by T-Mobile and Orange; now, with the mast off, nothing works and this leaves an isolated rural area in a very dangerous situation.”

A spokeswoman for Everything Everywhere — the company that runs Orange and T-Mobile — said that a technical team is currently “looking at options”.

“We are investing millions of pounds over the next three years to create a network that delivers (more) mobile coverage than any other in the region,” she said.

“To do that, we have to reduce the number of masts across the region. We do not anticipate a significant change to network coverage ... However, we are aware that a very small number of T-Mobile customers have reported a coverage loss and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

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