May 12, 2019

Mobile UK Outlines Central Role for Councils in 5G Future in new Councils and Connectivity Report

Opportunity now for councils to boost readiness

  • New research finds fewer than a third of councils’ Local Plans make reference to mobile connectivity
  • Mobile UK report calls for equal prioritisation of mobile with fixed broadband
  • Opportunities to prepare for 5G should be taken now

In a report launched today, Mobile UK urges more councils to take simple steps to support the roll out of 5G.

Providing major increases in data capacity and speed, 5G is expected to bring major economic benefits to the UK – contributing up to £164 billion to GDP by 2030.

With councils playing a central role – granting planning permission or hosting new infrastructure, for instance – the research found that there is a crucial opportunity now for critical steps to be taken.

The report also champions best practice and highlights local authorities that are already putting in steps to enable better cooperation and assisting the mobile industry.

Mobile UK is encouraging councils to work in partnership with the industry to provide the certainty needed to assist mobile operators to rollout networks.

Gareth Elliot, Head of Policy and Communications for Mobile UK, said:

“Mobile connectivity has transformed our daily lives, and 5G is expected to take us even further, but we must ensure that at all levels of government we are equally prepared.

“Councils have a vital role, yet while many are working towards a connected future, our research has found that there is still a lag in fully prioritising mobile connectivity.

“With launch plans announced for 5G now is the time to take the opportunity to work with industry to break down barriers and champion mobile connectivity, to ensure the next generation of mobile infrastructure can be deployed quickly and effectively.”

Despite ongoing industry investment to continually enhance and improve 4G coverage and the impending arrival of 5G, researchers found that:

  • Fewer than one third (28 per cent) of councils’ Local Plans make detailed reference to mobile connectivity
  • More than half (65 per cent) of councils did not have a councillor with specific responsibility for digital issues
  • Nine in 10 (87 per cent) had not audited the suitability of their land, buildings and other infrastructure to host digital infrastructure
  • Three-quarters (74 per cent) had not applied for funding to improve digital connectivity

The report urges councils to build mobile connectivity into their strategic plans and to give equal weight to mobile as they do to broadband, including dedicated staff.


Contact: Gareth Elliott - 07887 911 076 -

Notes to Editors:

  1. Mobile UK is the trade association for the UK’s mobile network operators - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.
  2. The full report is available below
  3. 94 per cent of UK adults own a mobile phone and there are 92 million subscriptions to mobile networks, according to Ofcom.
  4. Three UK expect that by 2025 the average customer will be consuming 90GB – 47 times more data than the average consumer uses today (1.9GB)
  5. O2 estimate the combined value of 4G and 5G mobile connectivity to add £18.5 billion to the economy by 2026.
  6. Based on GSMA’s analysis, the impact of mobile on UK GDP will be £112 billion in 2020, rising to somewhere between £164–198 billion per annum by 2030.
Councils & Connectivity 2 PDF

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

< View all news items