Vodafone announces ‘industry-wide’ rural network sharing agreement

Vodafone customers in rural areas will receive a major improvement in mobile coverage and signal strength following the agreement of an industry-wide scheme to make 4G available to 95% of the UK landmass by 2025.

In an unprecedented move, the mobile operators have agreed to work together to build new mobile phone masts and share existing ones with the support of HM Government. Called the Shared Rural Network (SRN), it will make the UK one of the best countries for geographic mobile coverage in Europe and ensure that UK consumers and businesses receive a wider choice of providers in remote areas.

The agreement will also mean far fewer new masts need to be installed, helping to save energy and reduce planning concerns.

In addition, Vodafone will also look to make as many sites as possible 5G-ready so customers can benefit from the new, faster and more reliable technology as it is rolled out more widely. Vodafone already has 5G in more places than any other operator and intends to extend its network to rural areas over the next few years.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Officer Nick Jeffery said: “There is no other scheme like this in the world. It will spell an end to annoying mobile ‘not spots’ for hundreds of thousands of people living, working and travelling in the more remote parts of the UK. By working together, we will deliver better coverage while offering more choice for consumers and businesses using far fewer masts.

We will also bring 5G supported by full fibre to rural communities across the UK. From Northeast Scotland down to the Isles of Scilly, we are already delivering fast and reliable digital communications. We want to end the rural digital divide and provide a boost for the rural economy as more people get access to vital digital services. I’m proud Vodafone has led the way in this.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine