Press Release | 03 Aug 2023

Vodafone brings 4G to two rural Dumfries and Galloway communities

The activity is part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN), a £1bn joint initiative between the UK Government and the UK’s four mobile network operators.

Vodafone customers in and around the Scottish rural communities of Ae and Loch Head in Dumfries and Galloway are now receiving stronger 4G coverage so residents, businesses and visitors are now enjoying faster and more reliable data speeds as well as better quality voice calls.

The activity is part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN), a £1bn joint initiative between the UK Government and the UK’s four mobile network operators, which will extend overall 4G coverage to 91% of the Scottish landmass* and builds on the multibillion-pound investment Vodafone has already made to bring 4G coverage to 99% of UK premises.  The programme uses mast sharing on existing sites in rural areas where some providers, but not all, have coverage.  SRN also builds new, shared masts to connect areas that currently have no coverage at all.

The masts bring the number of sites across Scotland where Vodafone coverage has already been boosted, as part of the SRN programme, to 49. Locations include Balmacara (Ross-shire), Ettrick (Scottish Borders), Lockerbie (Scottish Borders), New Luce (Dumfries and Galloway) and Traquair (Peeblesshire).

Borders residents and businesses get 4G mobile signal boost thanks to UK government investment

A Shared Rural Network mast, near Lockerbie and funded by the UK government, is the first of 120 planned upgrades to bolster 4G reception across Scotland.

UK Government Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure Sir John Whittingdale said: “We want everyone to have access to reliable, high-quality mobile connectivity regardless of where they live or work, so it’s great to see Vodafone improve 4G coverage for residents in and around Ae and Loch Head.  This is thanks to our £1bn Shared Rural Network programme, which is driving connectivity in some of the most rural parts of the UK – helping to grow the economy and create opportunity by boosting coverage in areas that need it most.” 

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK, said: “We continue to invest in our network to ensure our customers continue to enjoy our most reliable network. However, connecting rural and hard-to-reach parts of the UK can be restricted by cost.  The Shared Rural Network initiative means the UK network operators can work together to ensure people living and working in those areas have a choice of network, as well as ensuring we are nearer to closing the digital divide.” 

3G switch-off is coming: Here's what you need to do

In 2023 Vodafone is retiring 3G in the UK, so it’s time to check your phone – and to check-in on your relatives and neighbours – to see if and how you’ll be affected by the switch-off.

The investment is part of an ongoing network modernisation programme which sees Vodafone retiring its 3G network.

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Notes to editors: 

  • *from at least one Mobile Network Operator (MNO)  
  • More information on the Shared Rural Network.
  • The proposed merger between Vodafone UK and Three UK will create Europe’s leading 5G network, supporting the Government’s 5G ambitions, driving digital transformation, creating jobs and bringing faster speeds and better coverage to every corner of the country. Vodafone UK and Three UK have also committed to closing the rural divide faster by delivering 4G to 95% of the UK in their first year as a combined company – exceeding the Government’s SRN target. By 2034, they have also committed to rolling out 5G Standalone to 95% of rural areas. 

Merger of Vodafone UK and Three UK to create one of Europe's leading 5G networks

Vodafone Group and CH Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings Ltd., owner of Three UK, have agreed to combine their UK businesses.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

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Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


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