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4G coverage targets thrown into doubt
Monday 17 December 2012 14:06:37 by Andrew Ferguson

Mobile coverage was just one part of the investment programme meant to make the UK the place to do business, from making a phone call in a busy city centre to being parked in a layby on a rural A-road. £150m was announced in October 2011 to fund better mobile coverage for almost 1 million people, then this was scaled back to just 60,000 people in the summer of 2012. The Financial Times is now highlighting further doubts about the project.

The worry we have is that problems with the project and worries that mobile operators have about the running costs (estimates of around £6m per year to service these hot spots) mean that the situation may be that providers are now looking for on-going subsidy, rather than just help with the capital costs of building masts and installing backhaul.

With an aim of improving coverage for just 60,000 of the population, this amounts to around £2,500 per person, which is many times larger than the £100-200 per property that fixed line broadband projects are attracting from central Government via the BDUK. With the 4G auction reserve price of £1.4bn and an expectation for bids of over £3bn the re-investment of just £150m suggests that the Government is happy to 'tax' the mobile industry and be seen to be doing something for areas with bad coverage, but nothing of the scale that will make a significant difference.

Comments

Posted by adslmax over 4 years ago
no ones want 4G cos it rip off price and very small usage allowance. No thanks
Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
All mobile data prices are inflated, as are mobile contracts in general, They even still change line rental,and use free upgrades to keep customers tied in contracts, I no longer need or have a mobile phone,if i even did get one,it would be a pay as you
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
@adslmax

It will be good once other operators get involved.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
I find my mobile contract much better value then a landline however thats because of the following, its sim only, I am on old deal which includes unlimited landline calls all new deals on my provider dont have this and I am not considering cost of internet usage on 3G which isnt so good although not aweful either. tommy45 consider payg mobiles dont require line rental as well.
Posted by fredforest over 4 years ago
Running a mobile comms network is so easy and so very cheap. Slap up a mast, put some leccy in the equipment and bobs your uncle.

Because the mobile companies are charities they will bear the cost of the rent for the land the mast is on, the electricity, the wages of the engineers, the cost of the equipment and it's maintenance, the line rental for backhaul, the cost of the IT involved, planning upgrades, running call centres, etc, etc, etc.
Posted by dunks over 4 years ago
I had understood that the original £150M was to address 2g not-spots with no provision for data services. Large parts of the country get no 2g, never mind 4g. Has this now changed?
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