4G coverage is set to be improved in 100 rural locations

Shared Rural Network (SRN) mast

4G coverage is to be upgraded by EE in more than 100 rural locations.

As part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme agreed last year, the coverage upgrade will be complete across the West Midlands by June 2024.

The SRN – an agreement between the UK’s four mobile network operators and the UK Government – is aiming to extend 4G coverage to 95% of the UK’s geography by 2025.

This is the first phase of the SRN where EE say it will invest significantly to reduce ‘partial not-spots in mobile coverage.

Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: “We’ve made a renewed commitment to boost rural connectivity, helping improve mobile performance regardless of location. The investment BT has made in rural areas means we have the infrastructure in place to extend our 4G coverage footprint even further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build to ensure everyone has access to reliable connectivity.

“EE is still the only provider of 4G coverage in many places across the UK, and we encourage other operators to recognise the opportunity sharing our sites offers to fill gaps in their networks.”

EE already upgraded its 4G network in 36 rural locations across the West Midlands since the SRN deal was signed in March 2020. EE has now pledged to extend 4G in a further 65 locations in the region, bringing the total to 101 in this phase of the programme. All sites have been made available for other operators to share under the SRN scheme.

The 65 rural locations that will get 4G upgrades between now and June 2024 are scattered
across the West Midlands, including:

10 locations in Herefordshire
22 locations in Shropshire
17 locations in Staffordshire
8 locations in Warwickshire
1 location in West Midlands conurbation
7 locations in Worcestershire

UK Government Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “We know the incredible impact better connectivity will have on countryside communities. That’s why we struck a £1 billion deal, jointly funded by the government and mobile firms, to bring fast and reliable 4G mobile coverage to 95 per cent of the UK.

“EE’s plans show good progress and will increase choice for consumers and boost productivity in rural areas. We will continue to work closely with them to close down further gaps in rural mobile signal.”