Arqiva has won the £150m government contract to help extend mobile coverage into rural areas.
The Mobile Infrastructure Project will last two years and Arqiva will build and install additional masts in remote areas, which all four British operators will use to run their services on. The project has now moved into an implementation phase, which will see the necessary infrastructure installed at a selection of sites. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport will announce which locations will get new masts during the summer.
While coverage has been steadily improving, 23% of premises in the UK cannot get a 3G service from all four operators. According to the latest figures from Ofcom, 6.1% of premises cannot get a signal at all from EE, O2, Vodafone and Three.
Nicolas Ott, MD of government, mobile and enterprise at Arqiva, said: 'We’re excited to be working with the government and mobile operators on this important initiative. By investing in mobile infrastructure, the government can help bridge the social and technological divides created in areas where commercial service is not economical, and we’re proud to be part of this process. MIP perfectly fits within our strategy of creating a range of platforms – cellular, WiFi and small cells – that provide mobile connectivity to all and support a thriving digital economy in the UK.'
Culture minister Ed Vaizey said: 'Arqiva’s appointment today is great news for rural communities throughout the UK, who stand to benefit enormously from this £150m project to improve mobile phone coverage. Good mobile connectivity is becomingly increasingly important and it is crucial that businesses and individuals are not left struggling with poor and intermittent coverage.'
Author: Graeme Neill