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The UK mobile operators today welcomed the Government’s consultation on modernizing the planning system for mobile telecommunications infrastructure. 

John Cooke, Executive Director of the Mobile Operators Association said: “In the twenty-first century, good digital connectivity, including mobile, is not an optional extra. It’s vital for individuals, businesses, for the delivery of public services, and for the economy as a whole. But connectivity requires a national infrastructure which is built and delivered locally, and the rules governing how it is built are outdated and riddled with anomalies”.

He added: “You can install a rooftop antenna that’s no bigger than a TV aerial without planning permission. But if you want to hide the antenna in what looks like a chimney pot, so that it blends in with the surroundings, that requires full planning permission. That’s bizarre. The proposals in the consultation paper are modest, get rid of anomalies, and essentially make it easier to upgrade existing sites. That’s helpful, though we would have preferred greater liberalization of the rules”.

“Demand for mobile connectivity in rural communities continues to grow, as customers and businesses there recognise the power of being connected. To meet these needs there must be a step change in the way operators are able to deploy and upgrade the network infrastructure. Without improvements to the planning regime, these rural customers and businesses will never secure the quality of service experienced in urban areas".

John said: “The UK mobile operators remain committed to the responsible development of their networks, and continuing to consult with local councils and engage with communities, both through the planning process, and through the industry’s own code of conduct.”

He added: “Consumers are increasingly choosing to access the internet using mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets, and operators need to upgrade their networks to meet that customer demand. However, current rules mean that even small alterations to existing equipment can need to go through a lengthy planning process. And when we talk to people in rural communities, they say they want better connectivity.”

The MOA will respond in detail to the Government’s proposals in due course.




Notes for Editors

1.    The Mobile Operators Association (MOA) represents the four UK mobile network operators – EE (the company that runs EE, Orange & T-Mobile in the UK), Telefónica UK, Three UK, and Vodafone – on planning and related issues concerning the deployment of mobile telecommunications infrastructure, and on radio frequency health and scientific research associated with the use of mobile telecommunications technology. It provides information on these issues to policy-makers, including elected representatives and officials at UK, national, and local level, journalists, residents’ groups, and the wider public.

2.    The Government’s announcement and consultation paper are available at:

3.    For more information please contact John Cooke 07714 241 925 email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

4.    Follow us on Twitter: @UKmobileinfo    

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