The four large mobile operators are set between them to invest some £5 billion to tackle poor signal issues across the UK. The Government has managed to get an agreement in place that will be enforced by Ofcom that should see voice and SMS coverage of the UK increase to 90% of the UK geographic area by 2017 and full coverage from all four operators will be increased to 85% from the current 69%.
"We support the Government’s objective of delivering better coverage to rural areas including partial not spots. This is why Vodafone is already spending £1 billion on our network and services in the UK this year alone and will continue to spend a similar amount next year as well.
The voluntary industry commitment we have agreed with the Government today will deliver 90 per cent of the UK’s land mass with voice services and a major improvement in mobile internet coverage as well. It is a great result for UK consumers and businesses and it will make the UK a leader across Europe in terms of the reach of mobile coverage.Vodafone UK spokesperson
The Vodafone comment suggests that maybe this £5 billion is not new all money, but may include investment already underway, e.g. improving 4G coverage will help a good number of areas. The spending by the operators also is a stark contrast to the £150m from the Government that is the Mobile Infrastructure Programme.
No guarantee appears to have been given on the provision of data access and with people increasingly relying on constant connectivity ensuring data coverage of at least the UK road network would go a long way to resolving many complaints. An important point is that the coverage is referring to land area rather than households or postcodes.