£1bn to be invested in improved 4G connectivity across UK
A new government plan involving the UK’s major operators is hoped to bring 4G coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2025.
The move is hoped to enable more people in rural areas, where signal is more often weak, make use of the faster connectivity.
The deal, described as a world-first, will see EE, O2, Three and Vodafone investing in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share.
The Shared Rural Network, which is subject to legal agreement, will use a combination of new and existing phone masts.
Government-owned mobile infrastructure built as part of the Emergency Services Network will also be made available to all four operators.
“We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity,” said Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan.
“We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve.
“Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with.
But it is not yet a done deal and I want to see industry move quickly so we can reach a final agreement early next year.”
The four operators will invest £530m under the proposal, meaning additional mobile coverage for 280,000 premises and 16,000 kilometres of roads.
In August, a £30m UK-wide competition was announced to improve 5G in rural areas.