Our goal is to realise the power of mobile to improve the lives of our customers and the prosperity of the UK as a whole.

Mobile UK: Who we are

Who are we?

Mobile UK is the trade association for the UK’s mobile network operators -  EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

What is our goal?

Our goal is to realise the power of mobile to improve the lives of our customers and the prosperity of the UK as a whole.

We do this in a context where no other technology has impacted us like the mobile phone. It's the fastest growing manmade phenomenon ever - from zero to 7.2 billion worldwide in three decades.

How do we work?

As mobile increasingly becomes the device of choice for running daily life both at home and at work, customers, quite rightly want better coverage, more capacity and greater capabilities.

Our role is to identify the barriers to progress, seek solutions and work with all relevant parties to bring about change, be they Government, regulators, industry, consumers or citizens more generally.

What are the key challenges?

1. Investment in coverage

A key ambition is to work towards full mobile coverage across the UK. That is what customers expect..but it has to be done without loading on costs beyond what customers want to pay (remembering that mobile prices have fallen by 66% in the last ten years [1]).

We are calling for a range of steps, such changes to planning laws in the nations of the UK and the Electronic Communications Code, in order to make network roll-out more viable.

2. The future of mobile

The story of mobile is one of constant innovation and change, some of it very unpredictable; over the last thirty years the industry has gone from the first generation, voice only, analogue service (1G), through 2G, 3G and now 4G, which delivers a truly mobile broadband service. In the next 5 years or so we will see 5G, which will take the power of mobile further and further (see Internet of Things).

To get there, we need more technical standardisation, more radio spectrum (in the higher frequency bands), many more base stations [2], and investment. 

3. Consumer confidence

If customers are going to be using mobile to run more and more aspects of their lives, it is essential that they can do so with confidence and trust.

Mobile operators both individually and collectively run many programmes to protect consumers and to promote consumer confidence and trust (see section on Codes of Practice).

4. Innovation at Internet speed

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” [3]

With nearly everyone now connected, the exchange of ideas has exploded, driving innovation as never before.

This is positive. But can make it hard to make the best of the opportunities. Through our web-site we try to tell the unfolding story of mobile – how we are relevant and how customers can harness the extraordinary power of mobile.

[1] Real price fall, Ofcom Communications Market Report
[2] Base stations: the site where the mobile device communicates over the air with the mobile network
[3] Attributed to George Bernard Shaw