UK mobile industry lobbies local councils to support 4G/5G deployment

6 September 2018


The UK’s mobile network operators have launched a report, Councils and Connectivity, in Parliament to highlight the critical role local councils can play in improving mobile connectivity, including 5G.

The report was produced by Mobile UK, the trade association for EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. It sets out how an integrated 4G and 5G infrastructure could deliver benefits worth up to £18.5 billion to the British economy by 2026, but explains how the operators are in an ‘arms race’ to keep up with demand.

In the last half year, the mobile operators extended 4G coverage to an area the size of Wales, but demand continues to soar: in 2018, mobile customers are gobbling up, on average, 1.9GB of data per month, but this is expected to rise to 90GB by 2025.

Three actions

The heart of the report is three ways local councils can work with the operators with a short case study alongside each to show how the approach has been applied:

  • Strong political leadership – Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority is supported by the mayor and has a fully-funded and dedicated delivery team to support plans for full-fibre networks, 5G and improvements to mobile coverage. The intention is to improve network coverage across the county, including A and B roads, aw well as rail services by 2022.
  • Connectivity should be inherent in local councils’ long-term planning – Norfolk’s Digital Innovation and Efficiency Committee is held up as the exemplar here. It commissioned a survey of 3,400 miles of Norfolk’s roads, 30 railway stations and mainline railways to establish a clear picture of mobile voice and data coverage, then drew up plans to work with operators to get coverage into ‘not-spots’.
  • Developing best practice, collaboration and exchange of information and ideas – North Yorkshire County Council has three complementary partnerships in place. The first is with operators, another is to understand the approaches of planning authorities and economic strategists, and a third to explore funding from local enterprise partnerships.

Fourth action

A fourth call to action in the report does not have a case study, but urges local councils to lobby to remove obstacles to installing infrastructure. This is a big problem, as highlighted by Mobile UK’s joint statement, issued on August 22, with Country Land and Business Association, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which called for the cooperation of all parties to make sites available and affordable.

Useful read: What is 5G?

Technical writer

Annie Turner has been researching and writing about telecoms and related areas since the 1980s. As well as 5G, she writes about smart cities, IoT, platform business models, regulation, customer experience, data analytics and other stuff – both as a journalist and in corporate white papers.

Prepare your network site for 5G and IoT in a changing world

That’s where CommScope’s Site Solutions for Techies ebook comes in.

Sky Mobile customers now get 5G at no extra cost

Sky Mobile is now offering 5G connectivity for its users and at no extra cost

Samsung 5G Tech to Power BMW iNext

BMW will install Samsung’s 5G telematics control unit in iNext cars from 2021

Restricting 5G Suppliers Risks Higher Costs, Service Delays

Huawei-commissioned research estimates the costs of limiting competition in 5G network...

Vodafone 5G coverage increases at home and abroad

Vodafone 5G is now available in Belfast, Edinburgh, Leeds and more, for 37 UK locations...

Qualcomm, Siemens Test Private 5G Network

Proof-of-concept establishes private 5G network to test industrial wireless applications

As seen on:
Washington Post logo
Financial Times logo
Guardian logo
BBC logo
Telegraph logo
Forbes logo