UK government’s 4G rollout signals end of mobile blackspots in rural Wales

Several rural communities in Wales can now access fast and reliable 4G mobile coverage, as UK government delivers on plans to tackle poor and patchy connection.

The first of 86 4G masts have been switched on in Wales this month, benefitting residents, tourists, and business owners and boosting economic growth in areas such as Pont-rhyd-y-groes, Ysbyty Ystwyth, LLanafan,Tynygraig, and West Fedw and Trawsgoed. 

The rollout comes as part of the Shared Rural Network programme, a £1 billion plan led by the UK government and telecoms companies that seeks to close the digital divide and spur economic growth in remote areas of the country by boosting mobile connectivity.   

It has been carried out by upgrading existing phone infrastructure, rather than building a new one, meaning communities can benefit from improved connectivity without the visual impact involved when building new masts.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said:  

Bad mobile signal can cause people immense frustration and hold back businesses in rural areas.  

This is why I’ve made it my absolute priority to ensure that no one feels like they are being left behind because of the lack of reliable signal.  

I’m thrilled to see our rollout signalling the end of mobile blackspots in rural Wales in Powys County. Everyone – from residents and business-owners to tourists – can access future-proof mobile connectivity and enjoy the opportunities it unlocks.

As a result of this upgrade, residents and tourists of Powys County will be able to access 4G signal from all four mobile network operators – EE, VMO2, Three and Vodafone. 

A further two 4G masts are set to be switched on in the coming months in the villages of Esgair Maen and Bronfelin, as the delivery of the Shared Rural Network programme ramps up.  

A total of 86 masts in Wales will be switched on over the coming months and reduce blackspots of coverage holding back communities reaping the benefits of digital connectivity.  

The switch on in Wales marks a further milestone in the joint £1 billion deal between government and industry to ensure that all four mobile network operators deliver 95 per cent combined coverage across the whole of the UK by the end of 2025. 

Ben Roome, CEO of Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL) said: 

In Wales, since the Shared Rural Network was announced in March 2020, 4G coverage from all four operators has expanded across an additional 1000 square kilometres – an area larger than Monmouthshire. As more shared mobile sites go live, people visiting and living in rural areas will see better 4G service thanks to this programme.

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said:

I’m delighted to see the end of these mobile blackspots in Powys with the switching on of three 4G masts, and more to come in the next few months. The UK government is proud of our investment in the Shared Rural Network which is helping residents and businesses in rural Wales have access to fast reliable internet connections.

The UK government is investing over £180 million to enable all mobile network operators to utilise the infrastructure and deliver 4G coverage.   

This week’s switch on in Wales builds on progress already made by the industry to bring fast and reliable mobile connectivity in Wales since the SRN was agreed between the UK government and the four mobile network operators back in March 2020.

Luke Simmonds

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