November 8, 2019

Mobile UK calls on all political parties to commit to ‘Building Mobile Britain’

Mobile UK's asks of the next government

Mobile connectivity is essential; the ability to keep in touch with family, run a business, and access all manner of services are only a few reasons for how critical mobile phones have become. The impact of mobile connectivity on the UK economy is significant – by 2030, network launches of 5G and extending coverage even further is predicted to deliver£198bn per annum or 5.7% of UK GDP. The mobile industry has delivered its largest-ever investment programme spending over £2bn annually over a sustained period, resulting in extensive improvements in coverage, capability and capacity. However, to build on this achievement, to extend 4G and 5G coverage further, and to fully realise these benefits to ensure the UK’s success in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ there needs to be a greater focus from the next government on promoting innovation and enabling mobile network deployment.

Mobile UK on behalf of the four Mobile NetworkOperators asks the next government to commit to:

- Shared Rural Network (SRN) – The SRN is an unprecedented joint initiative between industry and Government to significantly extend 4G geographic coverage from all four mobile operators to 92% eliminating partial not-spots, and then further to 95% from at least one operator. Backed by a £1 billion investment from both the Government and industry, Mobile UK calls on all parties to support this initiative which will drastically improve mobile connectivity in the hardest to reach areas of the country.

- Planning reform – Planning reform is being considered and consulted onacross the UK to make it quicker and easier to deliver today’s 4G networks and next-generation 5G technologies. To enable mobile operators to share more infrastructure, to cover wider areas and potentially reducing the number of masts required, we call on all parties to support these reforms and in particular changes to permitted development rights to fully reflect the importance of mobile coverage in the planning system.

- Business Rates Relief – Building mobile infrastructure in the hardest to reach areas of the country is both expensive and technically challenging. To ensure coverage can be extended as widely as possible, we are calling on all parties to commit to providing business rates relief for new mobile infrastructure.

- Barrier Busting – The Government has been working with the industry to identify and eliminate barriers to digital deployment, including access to public assets; the provision of best practice and highlighting mobile connectivity at a local level. We call on all parties to commit to both maintaining and investing in this work across departments and to further enhance collaboration between Government and industry.

- World-leading adoption of 5G – We call on any future Government to continueto work with mobile operators to maintain the UK’s leading position on 5G and stimulate the development and adoption of 5G applications. This will boost the business case and promote investment in 5G network and usage, supportingconsumers and businesses across the UK.

- Supply chain security– It is vital that to ensure the UK’s continued advancement in world-leading mobile networks, the current review into the UK Telecoms Supply Chain is concluded promptly. Security is at the heart of the UK’s mobile networks, and it is essential that mobile companies continue to have access to an innovative and diverse range of leading global suppliers.

- Online and harmful content – The new Governmentmust continue to work closely with all parts of the industry as it brings forward effective solutions to keep consumers, and in particular, young people safe from harmful and inappropriate content online.

Hamish MacLeod, Director at Mobile UK,said:

With the Shared Rural Network and 5G, we have the opportunity for the UK to continue to build our world-leading digitally connected economy. At this election, the mobile industry wants a clear commitment from all the political parties to prioritise mobile connectivity.This can be achieved by working in partnership with mobile operators to put in place the right foundations to enable the deployment of critical mobile infrastructure.”

Mobile UK's asks of the next government

About Building Mobile Britain

Building Mobile Britain logo

Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain

Media Contacts

Gareth Elliott
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076

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