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A landmark deal between the government and the UK's four mobile operators will see the number of 3G and 4G 'not-spots' greatly reduced.

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have signed a binding agreement to tackle poor signal issues in parts of the country where there is partial or no coverage.

The mobile broadband providers have agreed to a £5 billion investment programme to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017, with each operator providing 90 per cent coverage by geographic area before this deadline.

They have also guaranteed to provide reliable signal strength for 2G, 3G and 4G voice - to ensure consumers can complete calls - and agreed to accept amended licence conditions, which are enforceable by Ofcom.

In return, the government has dropped controversial proposals - which had been previously been rejected by EE, O2, Three and Vodafone - to require each firm to share network coverage with its rivals.

The mobile operators argued that such a move would jeopardise competition within the industry, and disincentivise investment in areas of poor service.

Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary, said he was "pleased" to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks to improve coverage nationwide.

He claimed that too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile service, which leaves 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 agreement will give the UK the world-class mobile phone coverage it needs and deserves," Mr Javid stated.

Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer of O2, said a partnership between government and the mobile operators is required to maximise coverage across the UK.

As such, he described the agreement as "a good outcome" for the firm's customers.

"It will support investment in our network, while ensuring that strong competition remains between the different networks," Mr McManus stated.

A Vodafone UK spokesperson noted that the company supports the government’s objective of delivering better coverage to rural areas, including partial not-spots.

"The voluntary industry commitment we have agreed with the government will deliver 90 per cent of the UK’s land mass with voice services and a major improvement in mobile internet coverage as well," the representative stated.

"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."

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