£1bn Shared Rural Network plan to get 4G to 95% of UK by 2025
Written by: Charlotte Hathway | Published:

The government and the UK's mobile network operators – including EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – have set out a plan to achieve 95 per cent geographic 4G coverage in the UK by 2025.

Under this Shared Rural Network (SRN) proposal, the four operators will invest £530 million to share existing masts and infrastructure in areas where there is currently coverage from at least one, but not all, operators.

If the operators agree to meet these ambitions, the government has said it will commit up to £500 million of investment to reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator.

Government-owned mobile infrastructure built as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN) will also be made available to all four operators, taking full advantage of government assets. This is expected to contribute to the coverage target by delivering up to an additional two per cent of geographic coverage per operator, in some of the most remote, rural locations.

This follows a government announcement back in August that it has launched a consultation on proposals to simplify planning rules to improve rural mobile coverage.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, commented, “This ambitious proposal combined with critical Government support, will remove the key barriers to tackling the tricky not-spot problem, ensuring people and businesses right across the UK get access to the digital connectivity they need, wherever they are.”

The Shared Rural Network proposal is subject to legal agreement, and the government aims to reach a formal agreement on it early next year.

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