A group of more than 40 MPs from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Business (APPGRB) has written to UK telecoms regulator Ofcom to stress the need for annual monitoring of mobile network operators’ (MNO’s) commitments related to increasing rural 4G mobile coverage. While the cross-party group was ‘initially pleased’ by Ofcom’s decision to implement coverage obligations for spectrum in the 700MHz that it to be sold in an upcoming auction, it now notes that it is ‘greatly concerned’ about how cellcos will be monitored. Specifically, the APPGRB pointed to the fact that there is no requirement for MNOs to report on successful mast completions until the end of the review process in 2024.
APPGRB chair Julian Sturdy said of the matter: ‘While Ofcom’s initial announcement truly has the potential to revolutionise mobile coverage across the countryside, it will fall by the wayside if progress is not monitored on a regular basis. We need annual reporting to ensure that mobile operators are holding their promises to the public on delivering a 4G network which works for people wherever they live.’