Arqiva wins government rural mobile contract

Arqiva is awarded £150m to boost mobile coverage in rural areas as part of the government’s Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP)

The department for culture, media and sport (DCMS) has awarded Arqiva the contract to boost rural mobile coverage across the UK.

The Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) received state aid funding clearance from the European Commission in December, enabling the government to provide £150m to increase signal for "not spot" areas that receive little or no mobile phone coverage.

The bidding process began in April when the contract notice was published and nine competitors came forward to fight it out, but Arqiva came out on top and will begin implementing its technology this year.

“Arqiva’s appointment is great news for rural communities throughout the UK, which stand to benefit enormously from this £150m project to improve mobile phone coverage," said Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and the creative industries.

“Good mobile connectivity is becomingly increasingly important and it is crucial that businesses and individuals are not left struggling with poor and intermittent coverage.”

All four of the major mobile operators have agreed to provide their services over the infrastructure, giving more choice to citizens once the project is completed.

“We’re excited to be working with the government and mobile operators on this important initiative,” added Nicolas Ott, managing director of government, mobile and enterprise at Arqiva.

“By investing in mobile infrastructure, the government can help bridge the social and technological divides created in areas where commercial service is not economical, and we’re proud to be part of this process.” 

The specific areas that will benefit from MIP have yet to be announced, but the DCMS said it expected to reveal the locations during the summer.

Computer Weekly contacted Arqiva to find out more about the technology it would be using to boost signals, but the company’s spokesman had not come back with details at the time of publication.

The roll-out  is set to be completed in 2015, in line with the government’s targets for broadband coverage across the UK.

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