Say goodbye to notspots as UK Gov, mobile operators ink £5 billion deal

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The UK government and four major mobile operators of the country have inked a £5 billion deal in a bid to improve mobile phone voice and text coverage across the country and eliminate ‘partial not spots’.

The deal is intended to extend network coverage to UK ‘partial not spots’ where mobile phone users are unable to find a signal. These are areas which may have coverage from some but not all of the four networks.

The deal, which will be enforced by telecom regulator Ofcom, will see the companies invest a combined £5bn to ensure that 90 percent of the UK has access to basic text and voice coverage by 2017. It will mean that full coverage from all four operators will increase from 69 per cent to 85 per cent in the same timeframe.

Announcing the deal, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said “Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts.”

Javid added that the government and the companies have been clear about the importance of improved coverage and because of this “legally binding agreement”, UK will be receiving the mobile phone coverage it deserves.

“The £5bn investment from the mobile networks in the UK’s infrastructure will help drive this Government’s long-term economic plan”, he added.

Javid said that the government will not make any cash payments to the mobile networks as part of this agreement but added that the operators might be compensated in future licence rounds.

A Vodafone UK spokesman said the company supports the government’s objective of delivering better coverage to rural areas including partial not-spots. He said the company hopes that the deal would a great result for UK consumers and businesses and it will make the UK a leader across Europe in terms of the reach of mobile coverage.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said the company is focused on bringing the best voice and data service to its customers across the UK, and only last week announced 1,500 unconnected villages will soon benefit from EE coverage. This agreement ensures that the company’s customers are able to stay connected in even more places up and down the country, Swantee added.