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Three 4G is coming to the Isle of Mull – and other networks will benefit too

If you’re a Three customer on the Isle of Mull then you’re about to get a big boost in your mobile experience, as Three has started building infrastructure that will bring 4G coverage to the area in early 2023. But this isn’t just any site – it’s the first joint site in the UK’s Shared Rural Network (SRN). 

That means it won’t just provide 4G coverage to Three’s customers, but also to those of O2 and Vodafone. That’s what the SRN is all about – the networks cooperating to expand the UK’s coverage, and their goals for Scotland are particularly ambitious. 

The plan by 2024 is to increase Scotland’s geographic coverage from 56% of the landmass to at least 72%, which is the largest SRN commitment of any home nation. So the Isle of Mull is just one small – but important – step in that.

One of many

It’s one of 66 sites across Argyll and Bute that’s planned to provide 4G connectivity as part of the SRN scheme, and Three for its part is going to start constructing two additional sites in Argyll and Bute and Aberdeenshire before Christmas. 

Iain Milligan, CNO of Three UK, said: “Mobile connectivity is absolutely critical for communities in every part of the UK, helping to support the local economy and keeping people connected with their friends and family. I am proud that Three is leading the way by delivering the first of these shared sites in the Scottish Isles where I believe it will have a transformative effect on coverage.” 

This just goes to show that the ongoing roll out of 5G doesn’t mean that 4G coverage – particularly in rural locations – is being neglected. 

In all, the SRN is a £1 billion programme, agreed by the UK’s networks alongside the government and Ofcom. It will see new masts get built and old ones upgraded, leading to 4G coverage for at least 90% of the UK landmass and an aggregate coverage of 95% by 2026. 

To put it in more perspective, this will mean guaranteed coverage for an additional 280,000 premises and 16,000km of roads, along with improved coverage on around 45,000km of road, and improved indoor coverage for roughly 1.2 million homes and businesses. So it’s set to be a transformative programme.


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