Tackling the UK’s Rural Mobile Coverage Problem

From ‘Inside-out’ to ‘Outside-in’

The UK is facing a longstanding industry problem of poor rural mobile coverage. Even in much of the rural fringe, mobile coverage is either sparse or absent altogether.

However, the upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction should help in resolving this, depending on how the spectrum is utilised and whether any obligations are attached by the Government.

Many seem to think this spectrum is fundamental to solving the rural coverage problem, and they would be right in assuming this. But would the auction winners use their new spectrum to tackle the rural fringe problem – or to improve their existing 4G coverage in dense urban areas, where there is arguably more profit.

Even if the Government attaches coverage obligations, it’s still a monumental task to make a big dent in the 9% of the UK that has no service.

This whitepaper looks at how UK MNOs can work with each other and the Government to implement a resolution surrounding a Rural Neutral Host Mobile Network.

Below are some of the insights and key findings from the report:

Why an ‘Outside-in’ approach trumps the conventional ‘Inside-out’ approach

Mentor – and the Government – are proposing a radically different approach to solving the rural fringe service problem, by following an ‘Outsidein’ approach. Instead of trying to incentivise mobile and fixed operators to handle this, build a single Rural Neutral Host Mobile Network to cover the rural areas – by design – and encourage operators and service providers to use it.

Why we need a ‘Rural Neutral Host Mobile Network’

A Rural Neutral Host Mobile Network is an independent mobile network, designed to provide service in the 9% of the UK currently unserved by the main networks. In essence, it is a “traditional” mobile network but shaped by Mentor’s seven principles into an innovative intervention that will solve the ‘rural divide’, once and for all.

The benefits of a Rural Neutral Host Mobile Network and what it means for the stakeholders

Whether you are a Rural Customer, the Government, Ofcom or a Mobile Operator a Rural Neutral Host Mobile Network offers a plethora of benefits.

The content is from Mentor, who might want to contact you to discuss your download. If you’d rather they didn’t, please let us know.