The telecoms regulator has said it will work to understand why the public thinks mobile voice coverage has worsened in recent years, and try to find solutions.

Comreg says it recognises that increased dependence on smartphones appears to have led to a broadly based public view of reducing mobile voice coverage and a growing societal frustration with the experience of services delivered by wireless means.

As a result it says it will make efforts to understand what is driving the perception, and try to find remedies, some of which it says it may be able to promote or support.

The regulator has also pledged to support the commitment in the Programme for Government to provide fixes to the deficit in broadband and phone coverage.

The new Government has promised to set up a mobile phone taskforce, to examine how coverage can be improved, particularly in rural areas.

Comreg made the comments as it published its new plan for the management of radio spectrum here over the next two years.

It claims radio spectrum -  electromagnetic waves in a particular range that are generally used in electronic communications - contributes €4.7bn or 2.5% to Ireland's GDP and supports almost 29,000 jobs.

The regulator says the new plan could lead to a 200 per cent increase in the volume of spectrum available for wireless broadband over the coming three years.

This could help with meeting the soaring demand for mobile data, as smartphone use grows.

The strategy sets out a range of measures which could be used to improve mobile coverage, including the provision of better information to the public about expected coverage on particular networks and antenna performance on mobile phones.

Comreg also says it could help facilitate quicker access to additional sites for mobile network operators to install equipment to improve coverage.

Demand for mobile data capacity is expected to continue to rise rapidly, as the technology is used in a variety of new applications, including smart metering, broadcasting etc.