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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Government and UK mobile networks agree a £5 billion coverage deal

No sign of mandated national roaming in ‘landmark deal’ for mobile phone users

Sajid Javid MP, the UK Government Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has announced what’s described as a “landmark deal” with the ‘big four’ mobile networks to improve coverage.

It follows a three-week consultation period that involved the government proposing mandated ‘national roaming’ as one of the options to improve rural coverage in areas where some networks provided service but others didn’t.

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have together agreed to invest £5 billion to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017, with guaranteed voice and text coverage from each network across 90% of the UK (geography, rather than population coverage). This will also cut ‘not spot’ areas of no mobile coverage by two thirds.

The deal will be legally binding and enforceable by Ofcom, with the networks agreeing to accept amended licence conditions in return for changes to the Electronic Communications Code and a potential reduction in Annual Licence Fees. (These moves were proposed by the GSMA as part of its response to the government consultation.) In addition, hundreds of government buildings will be made available as potential sites for mobile infrastructure.

Sajid Javid said “I am pleased to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks. Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts. Government and businesses have been clear about the importance of mobile connectivity, and improved coverage, so this legally binding agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves. The £5 billion investment from the mobile networks in the UK’s infrastructure will help drive this Government’s long-term economic plan.”

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Opinion Articles

T-Mobile and Orange isn't a big deal

Mark Bridge writes:

It’s the telecoms industry deal of the year. T-Mobile and Orange form a joint venture. The UK’s "big five" networks (or "big four", depending on your predilection for Hutchison 3G UK) will now be a "big four" (or "big three", if you don’t include 3. Confused yet?)

Everyone has an opinion. On Tuesday I was asked for mine.

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Here’s one for the laydeez

Mark Bridge writes:

Once upon a time, I’d probably have described myself as a feminist. These days I probably wouldn’t. Not because my opinions have changed, just because I’ve realised there are a lot of women who’d argue that I can’t be a feminist because of my male undercarriage. And me, by birth and possibly by education, therefore being part of the problem – not part of the solution.

Right, disclaimer over. I’ll get to the point. You want a mobile phone that’ll appeal to men...

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Mobile phones cause brain tumours?

Mark Bridge writes:

Mobile phones fry your brain. That’s been a warning from some people pretty much since the first cellphones appeared. And although the mobile phone industry has changed and the technology has advanced, the warnings haven’t gone away.

Ten years ago, the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones was set up to look at concerns about the possible health effects from the use of mobile phones, base stations and transmitters.

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Enthusiasm is my enemy!

Mark Bridge writes:

Enthusiasm is one of the great intangible powers of the world. It’s attractive, it’s compelling and sometimes it’s dangerous. And – yes, I’m going to try to keep this relevant – it sells mobile phones.

I was reminded of this the other day when I read a Sunday Times article about Apple’s Steve Jobs.

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A Blyk day

Mark Bridge writes:

Marketing, not unlike football, is a funny old game. I don’t claim to be an expert in either… but every so often something happens that starts sowing the seeds of doubt in my mind. And no, I’m not thinking about Liverpool's penalty claims in Sunday’s game at Tottenham. I’m thinking about Blyk.

Here at The Fonecast, we like Blyk. They shook up the industry and worried some of the big names when they arrived with their youth-focussed virtual mobile network two years ago. We interviewed their MD Shaun Gregory in May last year. And now they’re quitting the MVNO game in favour of arranging advertising deals for networks.

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