UK mobile networks could be able to shove their kit on more of the capital's rooftops following a draft agreement put together by the Mayor of London's office.
Recent changes to the Electronic Communications Code have made it easier for mobile operators to negotiate lease arrangements with property owners.
As such, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has drafted a template for mobile operators and property owners, which contains the new regulations as well as clauses around installing and moving equipment.
The Mobile Agreement Template for rooftops and greenfield is intended to speed up the process of reaching agreements and reducing costs for all parties. The GLA hopes it will tackle not-spots and assist the future rollout of 5G.
Hamish MacLeod, director of industry representative body Mobile UK, welcomed the move as a way of improving mobile connectivity in the capital.
Yesterday, it emerged London was ranked bottom for mobile coverage in a comprehensive survey of usage across 10 major UK cities.
However, Andrew Ferguson, editor of thinkbroadband, noted there is no legal requirement on commercial landlords to follow this agreement. "Previously difficult commercial landlords who insist on their own more complex and more expensive than usual agreements are likely to remain so," he said.
"For the public sector buildings the story is more positive as the standard template will reduce costs on both sides, i.e. less back and forth means cheaper legal costs," he said.
Matthew Howett, founder of analyst firm Assembly, said: "I'd say this is extremely encouraging. One of the biggest challenges faced by the industry when it comes to improving coverage and availability is getting access to suitable sites.
"As a significant landlord, the public sector has a significant role to play in making available their estate to help meet the government's own targets when it comes to connectivity. In countries such as South Korea where ubiquitous connectivity is taken for granted, initiatives such as these have been instrumental in getting the country to where it's at."
Theo Blackwell, London's Chief Digital Officer, said the move will help end uncertainty "which has stopped or slowed infrastructure being put in place across London with a new, consistent approach". ®