CLA calls on mobile operators to follow 3i’s lead and invest in rural coverage

07 April 2016

The CLA has welcomed the investment made by 3i in mobile mast firm Wireless Infrastructure Group to help boost mobile coverage.

Mobile operators must follow suit and make the investments needed to meet the promise they made in 2014 to extend their coverage across the UK, the organisation has said.

CLA Senior Rural Business Adviser and Economist Dr Charles Trotman said: “In 2014 the mobile industry committed to delivering all-network mobile coverage to 90 percent of the geographic landmass of UK by the end of 2017. Recent figures show mobile phone users can get coverage outdoors from all four major networks across just 72 percent of rural premises of the UK.

“We welcome this investment, which is exactly the type of action rural communities need. We need to see many more examples of investment such as this from mobile companies if they are to fulfil the promises they have made about meeting their 90 percent target. Rural communities have now heard too many big promises and weak excuses.”

Last month, the CLA welcomed Government plans to change planning rules to make it easier to erect mobile masts and other mobile infrastructure. The proposals included a series of changes to provide permitted development rights to make existing masts taller or add additional antennae. They came in response to complaints from operators that planning restrictions are a major barrier to roll out of mobile coverage in rural areas.