£1bn deal set to solve poor mobile coverage

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Poor mobile phone coverage will be a thing of the past as the Government champions a £1bn deal with the mobile phone industry to banish rural not-spots.

The move will bring 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025 and be a huge boost for consumers. More people in rural areas will benefit from the speed and efficiency of services on the go – from booking travel, shopping online or speaking to friends and family.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan is supportive of a £530m proposal from the UK’s mobile network operators for a Shared Rural Network with the potential for it to be matched by £500m investment from Government.

This would be a world-first deal with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone investing in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share. Consumers will be able to rely on their own provider’s network to use their mobile phones wherever they are.

It follows Government proposals for an overhaul of planning rules and is part of the Prime Minister’s plan to level up the country with world-class digital infrastructure across the country to make sure homes and businesses are better connected.

Better 4G connectivity will make flexible working easier, boost regional economic growth and close the digital divide that exists across the country. The benefits will be felt across all four nations of the UK with the greatest coverage improvements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. 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.”

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