Vodafone welcomes Govt £150m network investment


Chancellor Osborne pledges cash to improve mobile coverage for those with poor reception

Vodafone has welcomed moves by the Government to provide up to £150 million to improve network coverage across the UK, through a mast procurement plan beginning next year.

Chancellor George Osborne said at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on October 3 that the money would be spent on improving mobile reception for the five to 10 per cent of consumers and businesses who receive poor or no mobile coverage.

In partnership with Ofcom, the Government is aiming to provide 99 per cent mobile coverage across the UK.

Osborne said: “Currently in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland only 90 per cent of the population has good mobile coverage. Across the UK as whole there is only 95 per cent coverage.

“In consultation with local communities we will install new mobile phone masts, which will improve coverage for six million people.”

Vodafone claimed that its Sure Signal (pictured) was already helping hundreds of thousands of customers improve mobile signal in areas where coverage is poor.

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “We welcome the Government’s ambition to bring mobile services to as wide a portion of the population as possible.”

“Sure Signal has already proved itself invaluable for customers in rural areas, or who live in properties such as basement flats, which may have suffered from poor reception in the past.

“Vodafone is the only mobile phone network in the UK that has harnessed so-called femtocell technology for commercial use and we have already run trials in rural locations of the next generation of Sure Signal, which could be used to provide enhanced coverage in villages, pubs and other public areas.

“This is just part of the network innovation already being carried out by Vodafone in the UK. We look forward to talking with the Government about how we can play our part in ensuring everyone gets mobile phone coverage.”

Comparisons site ThinkBroadband co-founder Andrew Ferguson said the move would help Britain’s competitiveness.

He said: “The Government’s announcement today of £150 million investment into the mobile networks to improve coverage is great for consumers who live in rural areas, which often suffer from patchy or no mobile signal.

“The elimination of these broadband and mobile ‘not-spots’ will be key to pushing forward our rural economies, and keeping them competitive across Europe.”