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Mobile Phones: Rural Areas

Question for Department for Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 1621, tabled on 9 June 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to improve mobile telephone coverage in rural areas.

Answered on

17 June 2015

The Government secured a landmark agreement with mobile network operators (MNOs) in December 2014 that locks in £5 billion investment from the MNOs to deliver improved mobile coverage across the UK. The coverage obligation has since been made legally binding on MNOs by a licence variation and will guarantee voice and SMS text coverage for 90% of the UK landmass from each MNO by 2017. As a result complete not-spots, where there is no mobile signal from any operator, will be cut by nearly two thirds. Additionally, Telefonica has a licence obligation to provide 4G coverage to 98% of UK premises by 2017.

Through the Mobile Infrastructure Project, the Government is extending mobile coverage to the 0.3-0.4% of UK premises who currently have none. Work is underway in the constituency of South Suffolk to identify whether masts could be sited near Assington Green, Bildeston and Boxford.