Orange ‘pulls the plug’ on rural mast

Phone mast  (w120201-8)
Phone mast (w120201-8)

Nidderdale residents have been cut off after a mobile phone company apparently pulled the plug on phone reception in the area.

Customers who use the Orange network have spoken of losing signal to their phones after the company reportedly “decommissioned” a nearby mast, with no warning.

The Orange signal from Heyshaws TV mast has reportedly stopped after the company made a “business decision” to decommission the mast without informing customers they would soon lose reception to their phones.

Orange customer Janice Scott was dismayed to find her mobile phone all but useless in her home at Padside in Nidderdale.

While she used to get good reception in her house, for the last two weeks she has had to walk down the lane to find only an intermittent signal.

She said: “I rely on my mobile phone, and I don’t want to have to go out and stand in the cold.”

Mrs Scott said she contacted the phone company on Monday, December 3, and a representative explained a fault causing the lack of signal was expected to be repaired soon.

But in two more phone calls Mrs Scott was told first the mast had been removed at the landowner’s request, and finally that a “business decision” had been taken to decommission the Orange transmittor on the Heyshaw mast.

When Mrs Scott sent her complaint in writing she finally received confirmation that Orange had removed masts in areas where partner company T-mobile also had a mast.

“However, there are some areas where this would affect coverage,” the letter added.

Now Mrs Scott does not believe she is the only customer to be disappointed, is angry with the company for pulling the plug on Nidderdale’s signal with no warning, and had written to MP Julian Smith about the situation.

She said: “I got an Orange phone because I know they have signal here, and I’ve been a customer since at least 2000.”

“There will be a lot of people up and down Nidderdale affected by this. I am starting to hear of more and more.”

Dacre Banks’s playgroup used its Twitter account to report more problems, writing: “Our staff had problems today in Summerbridge and people were saying that new Orange sims worked but not old ones.”

And Pateley Bridge resident David Holmes has contacted the Herald to say he has been “barely able to use mobile telephony” since the local mast was removed on November 23.

A spokesman for Orange said the company’s technical staff were investigating the problems.

They added: “We are aware that a number of Orange customers have reported changes in network coverage in the Harrogate area. We are currently investigating this and advise any customers experiencing issues with coverage to contact customer services on 07973 100 150.”