UK govt to spend stg£150m to cover mobile ‘not spots’

3 Oct 2011

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is to invest stg£150m of government money to ensure 99pc of the UK can be covered with a mobile signal.

At present, mobile coverage reaches 95pc of the UK. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, masts only cover 90pc.

The stg£150m will be invested in new masts. Voice coverage will reach all rural areas by 2013 and data coverage will arrive as the various mobile operators deploy 4G spectrum, such as LTE (Long Term Evolution).

It is estimated 6m people will benefit from the decision.

Ofcom is expected to begin auctioning off 4G spectrum next summer.

The UK’s wireless coverage plan

In a statement, the UK Government said: “The Government will invest up to £150m to improve mobile coverage in the UK,” the Chancellor announced today.

“This investment will improve the coverage and quality of mobile services for the 5 to 10pc of consumers and businesses that live and work in areas of the UK where existing mobile coverage is poor or non-existent.

“The government will aim to extend mobile service coverage to 99pc of the UK population.

“The procurement of additional mobile phone mast sites to increase coverage will begin in 2012,” the Chancellor’s office said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years