UK mobile operators could be made to share networks in rural areas where signal is weak, under plans to provide better services to consumers from all network operators. Ministers have put forward the plan to prevent situations where only one or two major operators are available in certain parts of the country, providing consumers with more choice as to who they wish to hold a contract with. This is before the UK (and EU in general) look at 5G in years to come.
It's no secret that the UK suffers from blackspots dotted throughout the country. The idea is to allow consumers to switch between companies, regardless as to where they're located, much like how international roaming is achieved while abroad. Affected mobile operators have stated this would remove the incentive they have to construct new masts in areas to improve signal, noting how new equipment would be decided against if it's to be shared with competitors.
Reading through the BBC report, one has to wonder why the UK government can't shake the industry up so masts and infrastructure is managed by a separate company and have network operators rent access, much like how Network Rail operates the country's vast railway network. This would not only solve the competition issue with the construction of new masts, but also bring companies down to a level playing field, focusing more on service, plans, deals and other bonuses to attract custom.