All four of the UK's operators have backed Government plans to bring coverage to rural areas, so-called 'not-spots'.
The latest step in the Government's £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project was revealed this morning, amid wideranging proposals for the communications industry. The Government said residents in Cornwall, Northumberland, Strabane, Aberdeenshire and Powys will have sites set up by Arqiva later this year.
EE, O2, Vodafone and Three will provide coverage from each of the sites and handle the operating costs for the 20 year shelf-life of the project. The Government will stump up the funding to build the new site infrastructure.
Olaf Swantee, EE CEO said: 'This boost to connectivity and reach will bring added social and economic benefits for the country, and we’re pleased to be supporting this unique and strategic partnership between Government and the telecoms sector.'
Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2, said: '[This] will clearly help deliver improved economical and social benefits for the residents and businesses who live and work in areas that currently do not enjoy adequate network coverage.'
Kevin Salvadori, technology director at Vodafone UK said: 'In partnership with the Government, this project will help deliver coverage to more people, in places that are currently very hard to reach.'
Dave Dyson, CEO of Three said: 'In areas where it is not commercially viable for operators to extend their networks, it is important that the industry and Government work together to provide coverage to those communities.'
Communications minister Ed Vaizey said: 'This project will see mobile phone coverage extended to many of the people who currently live and work in areas where there is none. The project will provide a significant boost to local economies across the UK, and will be instrumental in helping Britain win the global race.'
Author: Graeme Neill