UK watchdog Ofcom has amended the licences of the country’s four mobile network operators to improve mobile coverage across the country.
This follows a deal the government made with EE, O2, Vodafone and 3 which committed the operators to invest £5 billion on improving network coverage and provide voice and text across 90 per cent of the UK geographically by 2017.
The aim is to halve the areas currently classified as partial ‘not spots’, meaning an area where there is coverage from some but not all of the four operators.
Ofcom will also soon be consulting on the annual licence fees for the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum bands.
The government directed Ofcom in 2010 to revise these fees to reflect full market value after the completion of the 4G auction. The two bands are used for 2G and 3G, including voice calls, and some 4G services.
However, the government said in December it would bring its coverage agreement with operators to Ofcom’s attention when it came to their licence fees.
Separately, Ofcom is working with Government on its £150 million mobile infrastructure project, which is funding mobile phone masts in uncovered areas.
Last month, the watchdog said it is calling for industry input on the use of “very high frequency spectrum” to deliver so-called 5G services, nothing that 5G is likely to use large blocks of spectrum to achieve the fastest speeds, which are “difficult to find at lower frequencies”.