Mobile operators work with Government to deliver 95% 4G coverage to UK landmass through a Shared Rural Network programme
Via Mobile UK
Oct 25, 2019
For several months,the UK’s four mobile network operators (MNOs) and Government have been working towards a £1 billion proposal to build a Shared Rural Network that would see 4G mobile coverage extended to 95% of the UK’s landmass.
To help reach 95%, the Shared Rural Network proposal will be delivered by focusing on:
- Firstly, an industry-funded element which will eliminate virtually all partial not-spots (i.e. where there is coverage from one or more operators, but not all), made possible by all four MNOs sharing each other’s infrastructure;
- Secondly, new publicly funded infrastructure, to be shared by all four MNOs, to be built in areas of the country where there is currently no coverage (the total not-spots).
By further sharing infrastructure, industry will be able to make maximum use out of existing and new phone masts by hosting all four MNOs equipment.
It further follows Government’s recent proposals to reform planning rules to support the deployment of 5G and help extend mobile coverage into rural areas in the most efficient way possible.
Both industry and the Government aim to reach a formal agreement in what is an unprecedented initiative in the coming months.
Commenting on the Shared Rural Network, Hamish MacLeod, Director at Mobile UK, said: “The mobile industry has a shared commitment with the Government to invest in and accelerate rural coverage improvements, and I am delighted that with the Shared Rural Network, we have a proposal of action to deliver.
“Working in partnership with the Government, all four mobile operators, through a programme of shared infrastructure, will virtually eliminate partial not-spots and then go further to bring 4G coverage to the most rural parts of the UK. This is good news for consumers and businesses across the whole of the UK.”
- Mobile UK is the trade association for the UK’s mobile network operators - EE, O2,Three and Vodafone.
- The Shared Rural Network is a joint initiative between all four MNOs and the Government to deliver significantly improved rural coverage to rural areas of the United Kingdom.
- The proposals go further than Ofcom’s current proposed coverage obligations which would require only two operators to reach 90% 4G geographic coverage whereas the SRN would take all four to 92% and aggregate coverage to 95%.
- The Shared Rural Network includes a £530 million proposal from the UK’s mobile network operators (MNOs) with the potential for it to be matched by £500 million investment from Government.
- Government-owned mobile infrastructure built as part of the Emergency Services Network will also be made commercially available to all four operators, taking full advantage of government assets. This is expected to deliver up to an additional 2% of geographic coverage per operator, in some of the most remote, rural locations.
- Further information on the Shared Rural Network can also be access via the DCMS website here.
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