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Tories pledge to tackle poor mobile phone signal and rural ‘not-spots’

The party has pledged to fast-track agreements for mast sharing between networks.

Boris Johnson (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Boris Johnson (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Catherine Wylie, PA

Boris Johnson has promised to make poor mobile phone signal a thing of the past if the Tories win the General Election.

In the first 100 days, a Conservative government plans to finalise a £1 billion agreement with mobile phone operators to pool existing phone masts and build new ones.

The party said currently just 66% of the UK landmass has geographic coverage for customers of all four network operators, but the Tories have promised to increase this to 95% or more.

They say their plan will dramatically improve the life of millions of people living in the countryside, putting an end to rural “not-spots” by 2025.

We are determined to make sure that no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connections Boris Johnson

Visiting the South West, Mr Johnson will set out plans for a “shared rural network” which would see new masts built and existing infrastructure shared between the four mobile phone providers – O2, Three, Vodafone and EE.

The party said this would ensure 4G service for all customers regardless of their provider, across almost all of the UK, bringing additional coverage to 280,000 homes and businesses and 16,000km of roads.

The operators will pay up to £530 million to get rid of partial “not-spots”, the party said, adding that a Conservative government will add a further £500 million to build new infrastructure in rural areas that are not commercially viable.

Mr Johnson said: “Mobile phones are revolutionising our day-to-day lives and are crucial for businesses as they compete and grow.

“We are determined to make sure that no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connections.

“If a Conservative majority government is elected, in our first 100 days we will fast-track agreements for mast sharing between networks, alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure to tackle rural not-spots by 2025 and make poor mobile signal a thing of the past.”

PA

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