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September 8, 2014

UK operators “reject” network sharing plan

Idea originally proposed by Culture Secretary Sajid Javid.

By Vinod

Britain’s biggest mobile operators have rejected a government plan to get rid of so-called "not-spots" and improve coverage across the country through sharing their networks, a report has claimed.

The plan was introduced by culture secretary Sajid Javid and digital economy minister Ed Vaizey as part of a long-running campaign to create a national roaming network across the UK and improve coverage, especially across rural areas, by the start of 2015.

If successful, it would have seen mobile customers being able to connect to infrastructure belonging to any operator in those areas where their own carrier has no coverage.

However, according to the Financial Times, the carriers have rejected the "complex" idea on both technical and legal grounds.

Following this, Vaizey has apparently called on the four operators involved – EE, O2 UK, Vodafone UK and Hutchison 3G UK (Three) – to suggest and put forward any other ideas they might have for enhancing coverage in rural areas.

Meanwhile, Javid’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is said to be engaging in its own cost and benefit analysis of national roaming.

"We are investing up to £150m to improve mobile coverage in areas where there is currently no coverage from any of the mobile network operators through the Mobile Infrastructure Project," said Vaizey, who earlier this year stated that superfast broadband was, "essential to modern business life".

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"There are also areas of the UK that have coverage from some MNOs but not all of them. We’re looking closely at ways to improve mobile coverage in these areas, including national roaming."

As part of its wide-ranging campaigns to improve Britain’s communications infrastructure, the government is also aiming to ensure 99% of UK homes and businesses have access to super-fast broadband by 2018.


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