The UK’s Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan is reportedly supportive of a GBP530 million (USD680 million) proposal from the UK’s mobile network operators (MNOs) for a shared rural network, with the potential that the government would invest GBP500 million into the project. In a press release regarding the matter, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) said that the proposed deal with EE, O2 UK, Three UK and Vodafone UK would see the quartet jointly invest in a network of new and existing phone masts that they would then all share, with this infrastructure providing coverage to 280,000 homes and businesses and 16,000km of roads.
Commenting on the matter, Mrs Morgan said: ‘We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve. Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with. But it is not yet a done deal and I want to see industry move quickly so we can reach a final agreement early next year.’