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Improving rural broadband coverage, particularly mobile broadband, is a growing concern for regulators and governments. These hard-to-reach and unprofitable areas continue to see poor connectivity and numerous initiatives are being adopted in an attempt to address this.


  • The sharing of mobile infrastructure is not a new concept, but such a coordinated and large-scale project is not something that has been attempted before. The four main mobile operators in the UK announced radical plans for a shared rural network in October 2019, which would allow at least 92% of the country to see good quality 4G coverage by 2025.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses the new shared rural network agreed in the UK.
  • Compares the UK shared network with the German initiative.

Key questions answered

  • What are the key aspects of the new shared rural network in the UK?
  • How does the German shared rural network compare with the UK initiative?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • New commitment from MNOs means that the upcoming spectrum auction no longer includes coverage obligations
  • 9% of the UK does not have access to 4G connectivity from at least one operator
  • The shared rural network in Germany requires all MNOs to take on an equal share of the expansion projects


  • Further reading
  • Author

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