The Shared Rural Network (SRN) will deliver reliable mobile broadband to 95% of the UK by 2025, addressing the digital divide by improving 4G coverage in the areas that need it most. Through the programme, UK’s four mobile network operators (MNOs) – EE, Telefónica UK (O2), Three and Vodafone expect to:

  • Provide coverage to an additional 280,000 premises and for people in cars on an additional 16,000km of the UK’s roads.
  • Improve geographic coverage to 79% of Areas of Natural Beauty, up from 51%, and 74% of National Parks from 41%, benefitting millions of visitors every year.

By upgrading their existing networks and working together on shared infrastructure and new sites, the MNOs and Government will transform mobile coverage in rural areas. Individually, each operator will reach 90% geographic coverage, which will result in 84% of the UK having 4G coverage from all four operators, increasing choice and boosting productivity in rural areas.

  • In Scotland, the SRN will see 4G coverage from all four operators rise to a minimum of 74%, up from 42% in 2020.
  • In Wales, the SRN will see 4G coverage from all four operators rise to a minimum of 80%, up from 58% in 2020.
  • In Northern Ireland, the SRN will see 4G coverage from all four operators rise to a minimum of 85%, up from 75% in 2020.
  • In England, the SRN will see 4G coverage from all four operators rise to a minimum of 90%, up from 81% in 2020.

Progress against these targets will be measured by Ofcom. Visit the Ofcom website for more information about licence obligations and methodology.

These improvements to mobile coverage will allow rural businesses to prosper and rural communities to thrive. Businesses will benefit from increased ease of navigation, improvements in marketing and access to documents. Visitors to remote areas of the UK will have better access to online information, boosting the UK’s tourism industry.

The SRN is a sustainable approach to the challenge of delivering rural mobile coverage. The programme will transform 4G coverage without duplicating infrastructure, minimising the impact on our countryside.

For information about how the SRN relates to wider industry issues, please visit the trade association, Mobile UK.