A £5bn project to guarantee mobile phone voice and text coverage to 90% of the UK geographical area by 2017 will go ahead.The deal means the four mobile networks – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – have all agreed to tackle poor coverage in so-called partial “not spots”.

Mobile Networks Agree Deal

These are areas that may have coverage from some but not all of the four networks.

This will halve the number of areas where there is patchy mobile coverage.

In addition, the operators will increase full coverage from 69% to 85% – allowing phone users to download data.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts.

“Government and businesses have been clear about the importance of mobile connectivity, and improved coverage, so this legally binding agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves.”

A Vodafone UK spokesman said: “We support the Government’s objective of delivering better coverage to rural areas including partial not-spots.

“It is a great result for UK consumers and businesses and it will make the UK a leader across Europe in terms of the reach of mobile coverage.”