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Economy Economy

Mobile coverage to 95 per cent of the UK

Last updated: 09:41pm 3 December 2019

By 2022 we will extend mobile coverage further to 95 per cent geographic coverage of the UK.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.78

Our verdict

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, the percentage of households in the UK owning a mobile phone rose from 47% at the turn of the century to 95% in the year 2017-18. Long before the massive growth in the use of ‘smartphones’, the mobile phone had become essential for some in the UK. Today, there is evidence that younger people in particular exhibit signs of ‘withdrawal’ when denied access to their phones. In light of the ubiquity of mobile phones in modern life, this policy promises to extend mobile phone coverage to 95% of the UK by 2022.

In September 2019, the government, announced a changed target date to extend mobile coverage to 95% of the UK, delayed until 2025. Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan expressed support for a £1 billion scheme to meet the new deadline, involving a partnership between the government and four major mobile providers. The plan would see Vodafone, EE, Three and O2 spending £530 million to create a Shared Rural Network, with the government contributing a further £500 million. The deal had not been finalised by the end of the government’s term of office.

The government reneged on this promise, delaying the deadline for delivery of 95% geographic mobile coverage to 2025. As a result, this policy is ‘broken’.

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