Britain's Ofcom backs plan to tackle rural mobile phone ‘not spots’

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Better mobile phone coverage in the British countryside has moved a step closer after the government and the telecoms regulator backed an industry plan to share masts and build new towers in very remote areas. Mobile operators spent months thrashing out an agreement to allow access to each other’s masts in rural areas to improve patchy coverage, but it was contingent on Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, revising the rules of an impending sale of spectrum for 5G services. The regulator on Oct 25 confirmed the changes had been agreed.

Poor mobile phone coverage has been a longstanding problem for customers and businesses in rural areas of the UK. The government had threatened to force a system called “national roaming” on the industry to fill in so-called mobile “not spots” by allowing a customer’s phone to automatically roam on to the strongest signal available. The industry instead said it would set up a new company that would allow them to use each other’s masts and to build new towers in areas where there is no coverage at all.

Ofcom backs plan to tackle rural mobile phone ‘not spots’