The government and the UK’s four biggest telecoms providers have come to an agreement on how to improve mobile coverage.
O2, EE, Vodafone and Three have guaranteed that 90 per cent of the UK will have mobile coverage by 2017. They are investing £5 billion to reduce the number of ‘not-spots’ by two-thirds. Not-spots are areas where mobile coverage is patchy or non-existent.
Partial not-spots – where mobile coverage is available but not from all four networks – will be reduced by half. Only 69 per cent of the UK is currently covered by all four networks, although this will increase to 85 per cent by 2017, reports bbc.co.uk.
Originally, the government proposed that the not-spot problem could be solved by creating a national roaming network, but the big four providers rejected that idea. The Office of Communications (Ofcom) will ensure the new deal goes ahead according to plan.
Culture secretary Sajid Javid, who struck the deal, said it is “legally binding”.
“Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts,” he explained. “Government and businesses have been clear about the importance of mobile connectivity, and improved coverage, so this legally binding agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves.”
However, not everyone is happy with the deal. Neil Sinden, campaigns director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, stated that no more “badly designed masts” should be erected in the countryside. Instead, telecoms providers should be forced to share their existing masts, reports telegraph.co.uk.