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Residents of Bearsted and Downswood in Maidstone endure months of mobile phone problems blamed on new 02 mast

By Ed McConnell

Hundreds of people living in parts of Maidstone have been plagued by mobile phone signal problems for up to three months.

O2 and EE customers in Bearsted and Downswood have suffered dropped calls, poor reception and delayed text messages – with a new phone mast and a local farmer being blamed.

Residents first experienced problems 12 weeks ago, when O2 started a three-week project to upgrade a mast to 4G at Bearsted Golf Course.

Peter Schmoeger, from Bearsted, has had no phone signal for 10 weeks

It was then relocated to Hog Hill and, despite the company saying the issue was fixed last month, customers said the problem has continued.

The loss of signal also spread to Downswood, where EE customers say they have had poor coverage for six weeks.

Residents claimed the owner of the field where the company's mast – and another owned by O2 – are had refused to grant engineers access to fix the problem.

"For the past 10 weeks, I have had no signal or very little signal at my house, along with all the other residents where I live..." - Peter Schmoeger

But Robert Boyd-Howell, who owns the field off Green Hill, said he only had contact about maintenance work from O2.

He said: "I made no objection to any provider gaining access to the field. I told them they could go in but would probably get stuck due to the corn."

Peter Schmoeger, from Cross Keys, claims to have had to travel 700 metres to Ashford Road for almost three months to get a signal.

He said: "For the past 10 weeks, I have had no signal or very little signal at my house, along with all the other residents where I live."

He was backed up by a resident of Discovery Drive, Downswood, who said: "My wife phoned EE, who said that the owner of the field behind the Orchard pub was preventing its engineers from getting access to the mast to make repairs.

"The company said its legal department were getting involved."

Phone masts. Library image

An O2 spokesman confirmed maintenance was scheduled in the field, but had not gone ahead. The company was unable to confirm why.

However, EE said customers should now be enjoying a regular service.

A spokesman said: "We apologise to customers who were affected by the recent disruption to service, and are pleased to report that the mast was repaired."

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