WHILE MANY PARTS of the county remain black spots for mobile phone signal, the rural settlement of Kinawley is now offering 4G connection.
It is the first area in the county to offer this service.
4G is typically five times faster than a standard 3G network, allowing users to access apps and websites without a Wifi or landline Internet connection quicker than ever before.
Looking at three of the main mobile phone networks, the connection in Kinawley stands out as the best available in Fermanagh.
On O2, the 4G connection is listed as: “Seamless connectivity and mobile Internet. Good indoors and outdoors. Good for mobile broadband”, while Tesco Mobile reports the same findings.
On EE, while a 4G connection is not available, three bars of 3G coverage is available. On the EE website in regards to the connection it states: “Your phone should work outdoors in most areas, with variable coverage indoors.”
While Enniskillen offers full 3G coverage it is yet to avail of 4G, but EE state the, ‘4G network in this area has been upgraded to double speed 4G’, along with that in Irvinestown and this is likely to come into effect in the near future.
Other areas of the county are not so lucky.
Roslea and Derrygonnelly report the poorest mobile phone coverage, with no bars of signal for 3G or 4G and almost non-existent 2G mobile signal.
On O2 the signal is described for both areas as, ‘patchy outdoors and patchy indoors’ with only one bar of signal available.
On EE, the company states: “Your phone should work in limited outdoor areas, but probably not indoors”, ie in Derrygonnelly and Roslea.
On Tesco Mobile, there is no signal of any kind available in Roslea, while in Derrygonnelly the connection is listed as, ‘patchy outdoors and patchy indoors’.
Kinawley Sinn Fein councillor Barry Doherty said it was ‘quite strange’ Kinawley was home to the best mobile phone signal in the county, and he admitted he had no idea how the village had jumped to the top of queue.
“ I knew it was coming when I got a message on my phone from O2 saying they were going to provide 4G at some point in the future.
“Suddenly we have it and it is quite strange. Last year you could get 3G signal on top of Cuilcaigh Mountain but couldn’t get signal at all at the bottom of the mountain on the Fermanagh side.”
While he welcomed the move, he has called for investment in areas like Derrygonnelly and Roslea, long identified as areas of poor mobile phone signal.
The chairman of the Derrygonnelly and District Community Partnership, Michael Skuce confirmed the area was still a ‘not’ spot, with residents still lobbying for better signal.
And, Independent councillor, Bernice Swift, who lives in Derrygonnelly, called for investment to correct the current gap in service.
“Derrygonnelly remains a mobile signal ‘not’ spot, and after the recent lightning storm, a lot of people are still left without even their land lines for communication.”
Declan Devlin, owner of O2 Enniskillen added that the 4G in Kinawley was part of the overall plan to bring the service to the county.
“It wasn’t supposed to be here for another six months, so it is good for Fermanagh. We’re normally last on these things, but this time we seem to be ahead of the game.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition