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UK operators discuss mast barter scheme to boost rural coverage

Rural coverage remains inadequate in the UK, after operators pushed back angrily against 2017 government proposals to mandate roaming in affected areas. Regulator Ofcom says that in 20% of rural areas, it is not possible to make a voice call on all four networks. Now the four MNOs have entered talks about a new ‘barter’ system which would make it easier for them to share rural cell towers. The proposal is that an MNO could use a rival’s mast, in return for letting that competitor ­install equipment on one of its own masts in return. The companies say this would increase efficiency of investment in network expansion and help them meet the government’s 95% territorial coverage target, without the need for…

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