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Shared Rural Network to boost UK mobile coverage

Saf Malik
June 29, 2021

Plan will close out “partial not spots”

People in rural Scotland, Wales and the North East of England will enjoy huge improvements in their mobile network coverage thanks to the Shared Rural Network – the £1 billion mobile connectivity programme agreed between the country’s main mobile operators and the UK government. 

The scheme is a part of the government’s plan to level up internet coverage in all parts of the UK.

The Shared Rural Network was agreed between the country’s four biggest mobile network operators and the government and will see the firms sharing their masts to boost mobile signals. 

It will close out so-called ‘partial not spots’ – areas where some but not all MNOs provide 4G coverage. 

The Scottish Highlands and Islands, Mid and West Wales and the North East of England will see the largest increase in 4G signal. 

Scotland will benefit most of the four home nations with coverage from all four MNOs to be delivered to three quarters (74 per cent) of Scotland’s landmass. This is an increase of two-thirds from 42 per cent currently.

Wales will see the next highest increases – with coverages from all four operators across its geographic areas increasing by more than one third, from 58 per cent to 80 per cent. 

Northern Ireland will see 4G from all four MNOs rise to 85 per cent of its landmass, up from 79 per cent in 2020.  

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“We’re putting connecting people across the UK at the heart of our plan to build back better, through huge uplifts to mobile coverage in rural areas and the rapid rollout of gigabit broadband.

“Today’s announcements will improve the lives of millions of people in rural parts of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, giving them the connections they need to work, access services and keep in touch – both at home and on the go.”

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