29 October 2018
Improved 4G connectivity will benefit more than 14,000 rural businesses, boosting their collective revenue by as much as £141m per year, according to research carried out for O2.
In ‘The Benefits of Connecting Rural Communities’ study carried out by Development Economics on behalf of the mobile operator, researchers also predict that the earnings increase for rural businesses could also inject an additional £44.6m in further gross value added a year on from the initial boost.
Earlier today, O2 announced it will improve 4G connectivity for a further 339 rural communities, from Drumoak to Lizard, by the end of 2018.
According to the report, O2’s rollout is expected to create an additional £57.7m in additional revenue a year after completion, as rural businesses take advantage of new opportunities and efficiencies mobile connectivity offers to attract customers and save time and money.
It states the tourism and hospitality sector is set to benefit the most from O2’s programme.
Rural manufacturers and transport businesses are also predicted to gain from enhanced 4G connectivity, with an estimated additional £24.1m and £15.4m in revenue respectively.
Digital minister Margot James says: “4G coverage is improving all the time, but there's more to do, particularly in rural areas.
“We've already reformed planning laws to make it easier and cheaper to install and upgrade digital infrastructure."
O2 claimed the rollout is part of its commitment to delivering the “best mobile experience” for its customers, and that it invests more than £2 million per day to maintain and improve its network.
As an example, the operator said it installed the first permanent 4G mobile mast in the remote hamlet of Staylittle in Powys, Wales, bringing mobile connectivity to a rural community that had previously been cut off from all communications.
“Technology never stands still, which is why we are always looking for the right partners and investing in our future network,” says Derek McManus, COO of O2’s parent company, Telefonica UK.
“Whether trialling 5G to support a future-proof mobile Britain, or ensuring the remotest parts can connect to 4G, for O2 this is about continuing to invest in all areas – not one at the cost of the other.”