IN rural areas like Ryedale, mobile network operators should allow residents to “roam” between providers in order to improve coverage, MPs have said.

In an effort to tackle “rural blackspots”, Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake has secured the support of a cross-party group of 75 MPs to ask the Government to make it a requirement that network operators enable such roaming.

In a letter - co-signed by fellow rural MPs - to the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Jeremy Wright, Mr Hollinrake said: “A lack of co-ordination between the network providers has left many rural areas covered by some but not all the networks.

“This is hampering economic, educational and leisure opportunities for residents in rural areas and remains a significant brake on growth for the local, regional and national economy.

“The introduction of roaming services between networks will vastly increase the operational coverage for many of our constituents.”

In some parts of the country, notably in rural areas such as parts of Ryedale, patchy, intermittent coverage means that many people have limited or no access to mobile coverage. Mr Hollinrake said that he and the co-signatories of the letter supported the Government’s Strategic Priorities for Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator, which calls on the authority to fully consider the costs and benefits of roaming in rural areas.

While Ofcom has agreed that “co-operations of operators” would improve mobile coverage, the MPs are urging the secretary of state to take it one step further and make it a requirement of network providers to deliver it.

The Government has pledged to ensure that there is mobile coverage for 95 per cent of the UK by 2022, but this will still leave many areas without workable signal.