Comvergent help make Government MIP project a success

Announced in 2011, the Government’s Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) aimed to support economic growth in the UK by improving mobile network coverage and quality for consumers and businesses in areas where existing coverage was poor or non-existent.

The project has since delivered 2G, 3G and 4G mobile connectivity through 75 mobile masts to 7,199 premises; more than had been estimated in the most recent business case.

As part of the project, Comvergent conducted the radio network testing and analysis services across all stages of the deployment phase:

  • Not Spot Verification – drive testing areas indicated as “not-spots” in the operators’ own coverage maps to verify whether they were indeed areas with no coverage.
  • Candidate Site Coverage Testing – transmitting a signal from a temporary mast/antenna system and testing the coverage by performing a drive test throughout the target area.
  • Site Performance – testing the performance of all technologies and services (2G/3G voice and 3G/4G data) of the completed site by drive testing the coverage area.

Comvergent carried out this testing for all the MNOs simultaneously, providing detailed analysis through reporting and mapping the results.

The project, which closed in 2016, has recently been summarised in a Government report and deemed a success, with the following benefits outlined:

  • The MIP helped to reduce the digital divide and add public value, with 85% of parish council respondents satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of mobile signal received through MIP.
  • The project supported economic growth by helping businesses in previously not-spot areas expand and operate more efficiently, as well as making these areas more attractive to visitors and young property buyers
  • The MIP helped increase public safety by providing residents and visitors with a reliable mobile signal for calls to emergency services.
  • The MIP helped address market failures by providing mobile connectivity in not-spot areas as well as increasing internet availability in areas which are also affected by poor broadband. Analysis suggests that many of the areas covered by MIP masts would have otherwise not been cost-effective for mobile network operators to cover.
  • The total cost of building the 75 masts was lower than expected at £35.81m – 30% less than the estimated cost of building 60 masts.

The evaluation also states that ‘communities greatly appreciate the improved mobile connectivity and that it brings a variety of benefits to those communities.’

It goes on to say that ‘delivery costs were lower than expected, and value for money greater than estimated in the most recent business case.’

The full report can be found here.