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UK operators demand 5G concessions in return for rural mast sharing

Filling in the UK’s rural mobile broadband ‘notspots’ has been the subject of much controversy over the past couple of years. The four MNOs angrily rejected proposals by regulator Ofcom to impose compulsory roaming in underserved areas, but though they have adopted various approaches, such as small cells, to address the issue, coverage remains imperfect. Now, the operators – BT/EE, O2, Vodafone and 3UK – are reported to have agreed to form a mast sharing company in order to lower the cost of extending coverage in rural areas – but in return, they are said to have demanded a £200m discount on their annual spectrum licence fees to cover the cost of the new venture. They are also demanding that…

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