Broadband News

£1 billion of investment to bring 4G coverage to 280,000 homes

The Shared Rural Network is now going ahead and of the four mobile networks by 2026 each should have 90% geographic access and a resulting 95% overall coverage.

The Government and mobile bosses met on the afternoon of 9th March to sign the deal with the operators bring £523 million to the table and £500 million from the Government. The money will be spent building new mobile masts to cover the various not spots with these shared masts owned by Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited which the mobile operators will all have a share in.

The estimate is that this will bring guaranteed coverage to another 280,000 premises, i.e. a cost of £3,571 per property but there is the bonus of improved coverage on 16,000 km of roads. It is thought that better in-door coverage may result for 1.2 million homes as a side-effect of the roll-out.

High-speed mobile connectivity is a central part of modern life whether you live and work in a city centre or in the countryside. Building out fast and reliable access to 4G across the country is a national mission and we’re playing a leading role, collaborating with government and the other mobile network operators in the UK, to make this happen. The Shared Rural Network is something we can all be proud of.

Philip Jansen, Chief Executive, BT Group

I’m proud of the work we’ve done to secure the Shared Rural Network agreement, ensuring customers living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable coverage they need and deserve. The collaboration between the industry, government and Ofcom should be seen as a leading example of how to deliver infrastructure investment and we look forward to now rolling the Shared Rural Network out as quickly as possible.

Mark Evans, CEO of O2

The Shared Rural Network is a game-changer for the country with coverage from each of the four operators expanding to at least 90% of the UK’s geography

Dave Dyson, CEO Three

A rural postcode should not be a barrier to receiving a decent mobile signal. Together, we have created a programme that is unmatched anywhere in the world. It will mean an end to mobile ‘not spots’ for people in the more remote areas whether they are at home, at work or on the move. We will now get on with the job of delivering it.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Officer, Nick Jeffer

The Shared Rural Network is fantastic news for people who live and work in our beautiful countryside. In making it happen we’ll listen to rural communities and strive to maximise the benefits it will bring

Ben Roome, CEO of Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited

The coverage figures are based on the definitions used by Ofcom which are: 'Ofcom defines coverage based on the minimum signal strength required to deliver a 95% probability of making a 90-second telephone call successfully completed, and a 95% chance of getting a download speed of at least 2Mbit/s.'

Verifying that the roll-outs are hitting their goals is a lot more complex than fixed line broadband, particularly when talking about geographic coverage, since to get you right you have to allow for variations in foliage coverage, weather and even a new building can cause a new not-spot. What we are likely to start seeing is more 4G speed tests in areas we have previously not seen them, our plan in the next couple of months is when people search on that we will add a specific mobile network observed speed figure rather than the combined average of today. 

The challenge to date has been getting the mobile operators to reach agreement, but we suspect that the harder challenge lies ahead due to the growth of Stop 5G campaigns on facebook and other social media to a lesser extent. In short objections to mast building will either see masts located in sub optimal locations or mired in long planning battles.

The roll-out signed on Monday is about building the masts and deploying 4G initially so the millions of handsets will work, but once the dense urban 5G roll-outs are over we may see 5G appear on this new mast network, but most likely this will be using the 700 MHz frequency band which has been vacated by Freeview Digital TV channels. 5G in the 700 MHz band may just reach superfast speed definitions (24 to 30 Mbps) but this is made up for by the longer range the lower frequency provider.


"a 95% chance of getting a download speed of at least 2Mbit/s" isn't going to meet the broadband USO.

  • sheephouse
  • 8 months ago

True, but that isn't what the Ofcom coverage figure for 4G is intended to measure anyway.

  • New_Londoner
  • 8 months ago

@New_Londoner, that is my point really. There is a problem with mobile coverage, and there is a problem with sub-USO broadband - very often in the same places (for the same reasons). With 4G being seen as a solution for sub-USO broadband spending a lot of money to not solve both problems together seems short sighted to me.

  • sheephouse
  • 8 months ago

Hi Broadband Watchers. I hope to receive my 4 G access on the 24 of this month from the information on OFCom Post code checker and I think I would be in range for GFast if fitted to the Cab 13..

  • Blackmamba
  • 8 months ago

All very well but existing places don't have the capacity. I was in the city of York at the weekend and had 3 bars of 4G but no data. The provider was reporting that they were busy and so Internet could be limited.

  • Fellwalker
  • 8 months ago

How does the Ofcom post code checker know when you are ordering 4G from a mobile operator?

  • New_Londoner
  • 8 months ago

Hi New. The OFCom Mobil checker tell you if 4G is available in or out on the Post Code address on the 100 Mtr square this I think has been available in the last six months.
That is why I think all DBases Openreach OFCom ISP,s and other should be the same referring to addresses if not you will have trouble. The data is feed back by the customer.

  • Blackmamba
  • 8 months ago

@Blackmamba pods are only fitted to VDSL2 enabled PCP and the range of is such that you will already have VDSL2 well in excess of USO. So 4G access under the broadband USO is irrelevant to you and you would not be able to request it based on VDSL2 speeds.

I really hope you are not trying to help others, as the garbage you are sharing here is distinctly misleading and incorrect.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 8 months ago

Andrew, any chance of creating a BM free zone?

  • MCM999
  • 8 months ago

Hi MCM999
I would be very happy to give the F35 a free Fire Zone.

  • Blackmamba
  • 8 months ago

Hi Broadband Watchers. I hope to receive my 4 G access on the 24 of this month from the information on OFCom Post code checker and I think I would be in range for GFast if fitted to the Cab 13..

Blackmamba the above comments clearly provide you nothing about USO. FTTC or GFASt

and if you were in dstance of cab 13 you have FTTC, (thwere would be no GFast) and if you had FTTC over 10 meg no USO

no idea what point you are tying to make but is wrong clear and simple

  • fastman
  • 7 months ago

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