back to article Mobile operators say they'll go halfsies with on £1bn network to bring 4G to rural folk

The UK's mobile operators have pledged to stump up half the cash for a £1bn "Shared Rural Network" (SRN) to tackle 4G notspots. All four – EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone – have signed proposals to bring rural coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2025 via £530m in industry funding, with the government committing to tossing in a …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm sure the mobile operators want to speed up 2G switch-off so they can get their hands on its spectrum!

    1. Martin Summers

      Re: 700Mhz

      Will never be sped up and not happen for a long long time. Too much legacy stuff, smart meters being one. Turning off digital terrestrial would be a plan once we've got decent broadband across the country.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: 700Mhz

      I think 3G will be switched off before 2G.

      1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

        Re: 700Mhz

        I get 4G at good times, 2G at less-good times, but never 3G. A taste of things to come?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: 700Mhz

        Wasn't there an ElReg article the other day about the 3G switch off? Was it Vodaphone seriously looking at turning of 3G as early as next year?

      3. ARGO

        Re: 700Mhz

        >I think 3G will be switched off before 2G.

        If you need to keep an old technology for legacy devices, 2G covers more customers than 3G and can be interleaved with LTE signals (which 3G cannot).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My money's in popcorn for the next few years.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At the AC, re: popcorn...

      I did a Google search for "bulk popped popcorn" and was delighted to get returns on various sites that do business in exactly that treat. Just do a bit of comparison shopping to get the best rates for the product itself & the shipping to your specific location, otherwise you may wind up paying 2x the price of the product just for the shipping itself.

      *Happy Cookie Monster noises as I go through a bulk bag of butter flavored popcorn like a starving beaver through a major old growth forest*


  3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    mobile operators; 50% (sourced from customer revenue) + government; 50% (sourced from taxation) = mobile phone users; 100% (from mobile phone tariffs)

    Trebles all round. If I can afford a round

  4. SteveK bring rural coverage to 95 per cent of the UK

    Sorry, are they proposing to reduce to rural-level connectivity to almost the entire population?

    1. Stuart 22 Silver badge

      "Sorry, are they proposing to reduce to rural-level connectivity to almost the entire population?"

      Nope, the opposite. Presumably as it is all shared infrastructure - if you can get coverage from one operator you will be able to get coverage from t'other three (oops!).

      Not as in this part of london where it's a postcode lottery of which networks you get and which you don't. Which means if the caller is on another network the call has a double chance of failing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe someone can explain this to me as it's always troubled me. Government puts up cash for infrastructure for private companies to profit. What do we get out of that? I know you could argue that without it then it wouldn't be done but then should they not regulate that if you want your pudding (cites) you have to eat your greens (rural).

    1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

      They've done it with roads for centuries. This is a drop in the ocean by comparison.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4G Old Hat

    From what we have been reading in this and every other publication that comments on mobile technology, 4G is just SO yesterday!. Surely our rural friends should be focusing on jumping direct to 5G. It is the future without which society will not be able to fully evolve at least until someone mentions 6G.

    OK, sarcasm aside, I have friends who live near Gatwick airport who can hardly get a 2G signal. The mobile operators are only interested in services that will turn a profit. and they have been quite successful at it. Rather than giving subsidies to profitable private companies, the Government should make new frequency allocation dependent on filling these legacy network holes.

    1. ARGO

      Re: 4G Old Hat

      They've tried that before. The reduction in license fees for the auction lot with a coverage obligation was way more than £500m, so this looks a bit of a bargain. (I'm waiting to see the small print though)

      1. paulf

        Re: 4G Old Hat

        It's interesting to note that this will be a single network that all MNOs can access (presumably including their associated MVNOs). Is this the MNOs testing the water on a being able to form a single infrastructure mobile network through a full merger of Cornerstone (Voda+O2) with MBNL (EE + Three)?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "That would lead to additional mobile coverage..."

    Will that include making it work indoors?

    We can "get" all four networks here, but none work indoors and they only work outside if it's not raining and the wind is in the right direction. ALL their coverage maps show "they provide service".

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Roaming charges

    This is somewhat off topic...

    Looks like it's not just Vulture reporters who run up huge roaming charges...

    Russian Raptors have managed to run up huge bills...

  9. EnviableOne Silver badge

    What about the 5%

    this is the 5% of the population that dont even get 2G and can't get more than 250kbps on a fixed line broadband.

    when are they going to be allowed to join the digital revelution.

    we dont need 5G we need universal 3G first

    1. I sound like Peter Griffin!!

      Re: What about the 5%

      I'd let them have £3billion if they could guarantee 100% 4G+

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward's called ESN (Emergency Services Network) or 'you scratch my back and I will scratch yours' when it comes to 4G. ESN will not work unless 4G can be extended into areas where 4G is presently non-existant such as parts of the Yorkshire Dales. More towers will be needed if the present Airwave UHF tower arrangments are no good for 4G or need to be supplemented by more towers. EE must be rubbing their hands in glee..... Th epossible good side is that some Parish Councils are demanding that any towers put up for ESN must make their 4G access available for everyone - not just the ESN users - before they give their prt of the OK to any planning application.

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