BRITISH mobile phone giant Vodafone says it is being prevented from investing 36 million euros in the Balearics because of obstacles put in its way for installing radio masts. The dificulties come from town and village councils, the Island Councils and the Balearic government.
Juan Burgos, the company's commercial director for eastern Spain and the Balearics said that Vodafone -- and other firms in the sector -- “need to install more masts to improve cover and guarantee that there are no breakdowns in the network, especially in the summer.” He complained that the company is unable to develop the new 3G technology which is being promoted in the rest of Europe because of red tape.
At the moment, the company has only been able to install half the masts it needs to prevent saturation in parts of the islands.
The situation is particularly urgent in summer, when 14 per cent of its “roaming” customers (foreign tourists using their mobile in resorts) who visit Spain come to the Balearics, and Vodafone needs to guarantee its service. One of the worst areas for reception is Soller, and Burgos complained that the town council will not listen to proposed solutions. He described Soller as “a complex area, which calls for specific cover and major investment.” The situation is worse in the Balearics than in many other parts of Spain, as “we have to request licences from three bodies (Balearic government, Island Council and town council) with different regulations, which slows down the installation of the necessary technology.” He added that there are fewer problems in some areas such as Palma or Calvia, it is the smaller towns which present difficulties. “It is important to make people aware that there are studies that having a radio mast on the roof of a buiding does not generate health problems,” Burgos said.