The UK Government has signed a deal with the four major mobile networks to improve coverage across the UK and eliminate so-called 'not-spots' where consumers still struggle to receive calls and texts.
The deal with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone is part of the Government's long-term economic plan to improve Britain's technology infrastructure, and was announced this morning by Culture Secretary Sajid Javid today.
Under the agreement, all four networks have collectively agreed to invest at least £5bn in improving mobile infrastructure by 2017, with targets set for full coverage from all four mobile operators to increase from 69 per cent to 85 per cent of geographic areas by 2017, and voice and text coverage to reach 90 per cent.
In addition, networks will have to provide reliable signal strength for voice on each type of mobile service (from 2G to 4G), and the deal will be enforceable by Ofcom, who will amend licence conditions to reflect the agreement.
The deal aims to cut 'not-spots' where there is currently no mobile coverage by two-thirds, and supports an existing £150m program by the Government to take mobile coverage to isolated rural areas.
"I am pleased to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks," said Culture Secretary Sajid Javid. "Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts.
"Government and businesses have been clear about the importance of mobile connectivity, and improve coverage, so this legally binding agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves. The £5bn investment from the mobile networks in the UK's infrastructure will help drive this Government's long-term economic plan."