RESIDENTS of Ipplepen have been left with little or no mobile phone service for several months after the only mast in the area malfunctioned.

02, which owns the mast with Vodafone, is the primary network in the area, yet neither company has fixed the issue, citing health and saftey issues for delays.

However, as the issue has persisted, the gap in network coverage has caused a variety of issues, from day-to-day problems to critical incidents.

It was raised with the Parish council that a man who was suffering with severe chest pains was unable to call 999, nor could he use the village defibrillator due to the lack of service on his friends phone. Luckily, a landline was used in a nearby house.

Other issues have been more routine, but still blight village life.

The local doctors’ surgery use text alerts to alert people when their medication is ready to pick up, but with out a working network, this service has broken down.

Residents have been unable to access mobile banking or make payments online as they cannot receive confirmation codes to their devices. Buisness owners have been unable to contact customers.

‘It’s causing all manor of issues in the area,’ said Roger Carnell, property landlord in Buckland’s Industrial Estate and Deputy Chair of the Parish Council.

‘I pay £25 a month to 02 for my CCTV system that’s coupled to a mobile signal. I can literally see the ariel from the yard, but it never works.’

The issues began at the beginning of the year, but have been even worse since May.

Roger said: ‘Every time you ring them, they give you a different excuse. At first they said they couldn’t get access to the land. But the person that owns the land has sworn blind that that is not the case. Then they blamed another provider and now they’re saying it’s heath and saftey.

‘Meanwhile we’re all still paying for a service that’s not being provided. It just doesn’t seem right.’

An O2 spokesperson said: ‘We apologise to customers in the Ipplepen area who have been experiencing intermittent issues with their services. Our infrastructure partner, Vodafone, is aware of the network issues and is working hard to restore services as soon as possible.’

A Vodafone spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. The mast is located on a pylon which has made access to the site more challenging. We’re waiting on specific PPE to arrive in the country for our teams to safely access the site and fix the issue. We expect to start work on the site on 6 December.’