UK’s First Shared rural network goes live

In south Wales there’s a small village called Devauden. It’s tucked away in the Wye Valley but has become the first rural community to receive new mobile coverage.

Why is this a big deal? Well, the government-backed plan for operators to share masts and other infrastructure hit a bit of a road-block some months ago, but finally got going in March. By working together, it means that areas which wouldn’t be high up on the priorities list are now getting mobile signal. It should see 4G being delivered to 95% of the UK landmass thanks to mast and network sharing.

Vodafone UK CEO, Nick Jeffery, told us..

Everyone should have mobile coverage, and everyone should have the benefit of a choice of networks. It is great that the industry has come together to improve coverage across the UK, and I’m proud that we’re leading the way. Our engineering team has done a great job in getting our coverage on to this site, despite the limitations of lockdown.

Meanwhile, Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman stated that…

Residents and businesses in Devauden will soon be getting better mobile coverage as it becomes the first village to benefit from our £1 billion deal with mobile phone companies to banish rural ‘not spots’ for good. Our world-leading Shared Rural Network will bring high-quality 4G coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2025 and means people will benefit from a good signal wherever they live, work or travel.

Bringing mobile data to places like this is difficult and expensive. There’s mountains, valleys, waterways and woodlands to consider, so sharing the same masts means rural coverage becomes more cost-effective and less disruptive.