The UK’s four mobile network operators are reportedly in talks with the government to share passive infrastructure in a bid to improve rural coverage.
The development, reported by The Telegraph citing Whitehall sources, comes shortly after EE, Vodafone, O2 and 3 UK knocked back a proposal by the UK government to improve rural coverage through ‘national roaming’ as being unworkable and undesirable.
Although the roaming proposal was rejected, Vodafone, O2 and 3 told Mobile World Live they were willing to talk to the government and explore alternative proposals.
UK operators, according to The Telegraph, have proposed policy changes to help improve rural coverage. They include relaxation of planning restrictions to allow masts up to 25m high, about 10m higher than most existing masts.
There are still things to iron out with the mast-sharing idea. It’s not clear, for example, whether operators decide which rural areas to target or whether Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, would take a lead role.
According to a recent report by Ofcom nearly one-third of mobile customers experience signal loss at least once a week.