Negotiations of the government and major British networks led to a decision that instead of national roaming main operators promised to spend 5 billion pounds on improving mobile coverage
Recently, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has undertaken to tackle the problem of not-spots in many rural areas of Great Britain. The Department’s initial proposal was to introduce national roaming which meant that consumers would be able to use any available network in areas with low mobile coverage free of charge. Operators were shocked by such an idea and prepared counteroffer as they saw national roaming as a detrimental development that would lead to problems in the industry. Not being able to charge rivals for using their network would mean a great financial loss and would discourage operators from investing in network infrastructure.
After some negotiations with DCMS, main operators, i.e. EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, pledged to invest £5bn together to tackle the problem of not-spots and provide mobile coverage in 90% of the British landmass by 2017. This only includes basic 2G mobile coverage. However, they also promised to increase 3G mobile coverage by 16% so that consumers will be able to access mobile Internet in 85% of the land.
DCMS started to look into poor mobile coverage after many customers criticized four major operators for poor mobile coverage or not having it at all in some parts of the UK. The culture secretary, Sajid Javid, said that both businesses and the government see that mobile connectivity and good mobile coverage are vital for the society and this “legally binding agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage”. Javid had to ditch his national roaming plan but securing 5 billion pounds for investment is a great achievement and may make the UK the best-connected country in Europe.