The UK’s most popular mobile operators, O2, Three, Vodafone and EE, have signed an agreement with the government to improve text and voice coverage across the country.
By 2017, the operators will need to ensure 90 per cent of the UK has voice and text coverage. Full coverage from all four providers will also be boosted as part of the £5 billion investment programme, increasing from 69 per cent to 85 per cent over the next two years, reports cbronline.com. At the moment, the UK suffers from ‘dead zone’ or ‘not-spot’ areas, where people are unable to send or receive texts and phonecalls. These locations are typically in rural areas.
Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, stated: “For far too long, too many parts of the UK have regularly suffered from poor mobile coverage, leaving them unable to make calls or send texts. Now at last we have progress that will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves.”
Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, added that mobile companies need to take “swift action” and should face “financial penalties” should they fail to achieve their targets on time.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) believes the move will reduce the number of not-spots by two-thirds, reports bbc.co.uk. Currently, Vodafone has the greatest voice and text coverage at 82 per cent, whereas O2 and EE’s networks only blanket 78 per cent of the UK. Ofcom was unable to measure Three’s coverage.