EE, O2, Three and Vodafone pledge to expand mobile coverage to 90% by 2017

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UK mobile operators EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have agreed to a £5 billion investment programme to improve mobile signal in so-called ‘partial not-spots’.

UK watchdog Ofcom has amended the licenses of the four mobile network operators to ensure that almost 90 per cent of the UK landmass gets voice coverage by the end of 2017.

Announcing the news, Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, said “For far too long, too many parts of the UK have regularly suffered from poor mobile coverage, leaving them unable to make calls or send texts.”

“Now at last we have progress that will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves.”
Javid touted the deal as proof that the government’s plan to improve mobile coverage across the U.K. is heading in the right direction.

“We are delighted that this agreement has been completed, ensuring that once rolled out, our customers will be able to stay connected in even more places up and down the country,” said EE CEO Olaf Swantee.

“A partnership between government and the mobile operators is required to maximise coverage across the UK, so this agreement is a good outcome for our customers,” said Derek McManus, COO of O2.

“It will support investment in our network, while ensuring that strong competition remains between the different networks.”

Three applauded the deal saying “We’ve doubled the size of our network in the past five years and we continue to invest to maintain a great network experience for our customers. This agreement reflects the strength of our network today, our plans for the future and our commitment to bring its benefits to more people and more places than ever before.”

“We now expect the Government to reform and modernise the Electronic Communications Code to ensure it better supports our ability to invest, build, upgrade and maintain our fixed and mobile network,” added Vodafone.

Furthermore, Ofcom has confirmed that it will re-evaluate the annual licence fees for the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum bands in light of the new requirements.