Women on mobile phone

Government announces mobile connectivity ‘revolution’ to boost UK

People in rural Scotland, Wales and the North East of England will enjoy huge improvements in their mobile coverage thanks to the UK Government’s world-first £1bn mobile connectivity programme.

This scheme is a major part of the government’s plan to level up all parts of the UK and they say it will bring economic and social benefits for people no matter where they live.

Uplifts in 4G coverage will allow people to seize the benefits of technology to stay connected, shop online and stream entertainment on the go.

It will also power economic growth, helping people set up and run businesses from anywhere in the UK.

The boost to 4G comes as the government reveals hundreds of thousands of properties in rural areas of Wales will be in scope to benefit from Project Gigabit, the £5bn national broadband upgrade.

It is the biggest rollout in British history in order to bring the fastest possible internet connections to hard-to-reach areas.

The UK Government has also allocated £24m to level up regions across Northern Ireland and modernise public buildings with high-speed gigabit broadband.

The Shared Rural Network (SRN) was agreed between the government and the country’s biggest mobile network operators (MNOs) and will see firms sharing their masts to boost people’s mobile signals.

It will close out so-called ‘partial not spots’, areas where some, but not all MNOs provide 4G coverage and which stop local people connecting, unless they are signed up with a specific available provider.


New maps and figures published by the government reveal how much mobile coverage will increase in each region of the UK once the SRN is completed.

The Scottish Highlands and Islands, Mid and West Wales and the North East of England will see the largest increases in 4G signal.

Scotland will benefit the most of the four home nations, with coverage from all four MNOs to be delivered to three quarters (74%) of Scotland’s landmass by the end of the programme.

This is an increase of two thirds and up from 44% currently.

Wales will see the next highest increase, with coverage from all four operators across its geographic areas increasing by more than one third, from 60% to 80%.

Northern Ireland will see 4G from all four MNOs rise to 85% of its landmass, up from 79% in 2020, while North East England will see total 4G coverage jump from 68% to 86% respectively.

Commenting, Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden said:

“We’re putting connecting people across the UK at the heart of our plan to build back better, through huge uplifts to mobile coverage in rural areas and the rapid rollout of gigabit broadband.

“Today’s announcements will improve the lives of millions of people in rural parts of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, giving them the connections they need to work, access services and keep in touch, both at home and on the go.”


PSE will be hosting a Digital Transformation Virtual Festival on 14 October. Join us for the full day event by registering here.

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