The Government has reached a deal with the four mobile networks to improve coverage across the UK, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced today.
A binding agreement has been reached with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone to tackle poor signal issues in so-called 'partial not-spots' (see our Cheap Mobiles guide to get the best deal on your handset).
These are areas that have coverage from some, but not all, of the four networks. Depending on the network consumers are on, they may have no coverage in these areas.
But the four networks have collectively agreed to a guaranteed £5 billion investment programme to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017.
The deal, which is enforceable by telecoms regulator Ofcom, will see guaranteed voice and text coverage from each operator across 90% of the UK geographic area by 2017.
The number of areas that have coverage from all four mobile operators will increase from 69% to 85% by 2017.
The deal will result in a halving of the areas currently blighted by patchy coverage as a result of partial not-spots, while the number of total not-spots, where there is currently no mobile coverage, will fall by two-thirds.
Improving mobile coverage
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid says: "I am pleased to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks. Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts.
"Government and businesses have been clear about the importance of mobile connectivity, and improved coverage, so this legally binding agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves. The £5 billion investment from the mobile networks in the UK's infrastructure will help drive this Government's long-term economic plan."