Three is the UK’s fourth largest mobile network operator and backs the rollout of a single, multi-operator rural network to serve the country’s hard-to-reach communities

Three UK has called on the UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, to ditch a scheme intended to boost connectivity in the country’s hard to reach rural locations, saying that it is too costly to implement.

Ofcom plans to attach minimum service obligations to the 5G spectrum it auctions off later in the year will offer telcos discounted rates as an incentive.

However, Three UK’s chief operating officer, Graham Baxter, told reporters from The Times that the scheme “lacked ambition” and would be delivered at an “inflated cost”.

Baxter argues that the UK’s rural communities would be better served by the adoption of a single, multi operator based network, which would serve hard to reach locations by allowing users from all four of the UK’s mobile network operators to roam between networks – in much the same manner as the EU’s Roam Like At Home initiative.

Three argue that this multi operator network could be built out by joint investment from all four of the UK’s MNOs. However, BT has already said that it would not be keen on such an endeavour, as much of the network would be bult on its existing infrastructure.