A pedestrian talks on the phone as he walks past an EE shop on Oxford Street in London

It has been revealed that the government and the UK’s top mobile networks have put together a deal to improve mobile coverage across the country.

An investment of £5bn has been agreed by EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, which will help the networks to reach 90% UK coverage by 2017. The aim is to reduce the number of ‘not-spots’ in the country ‒ areas where there is little or no mobile coverage. The companies decided that they did not want a system where they used each other’s networks if their own was not available in a particular area.

The culture secretary, Sajid Javid, said that he is pleased to have agreed a deal with the four networks, as there are too many areas where there is very poor coverage. It is hoped that this deal will reduce these areas by two-thirds.

The number of areas considered to be partial ‘not-spots’ ‒ where some coverage is provided but not from all networks ‒ should be cut by half, and it is expected that full coverage from all four mobile operators will rise to 85% by 2017. The deal will be overseen and enforced by Ofcom.

Spokespeople for the networks have said that they support the government’s plans and that the deal is going to be great for UK customers and businesses and improve the UK’s mobile standing in Europe. The government is not making any payments to the networks for this deal.