The government has signed a deal with the major UK mobile networks to ensure that coverage is improved across the country, and the number of not-spots (areas of very poor or no coverage) are drastically reduced.
The agreement will see EE, O2, Three and Vodafone stump up £5 billion to invest in infrastructure to guarantee mobile coverage across 90 per cent of the UK by the year 2017. In total, the number of not-spots across the country should be reduced by two-thirds.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC: “I am pleased to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks. Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts.”
The government was threatening to push through mobile roaming plans which would have meant customers could switch to another network if they lost signal from their own, but this was something the networks were definitely not keen on – hence this agreement has been made instead. The victory for the government here is that it won’t have to put its hand in its pocket, with the networks funding this initiative by themselves.
Ofcom will be ensuring the networks keep to their promise, and the watchdog recently examined the issue of UK not-spots in its Infrastructure Report for 2014 – among many other mobile and broadband related topics.