EIGHT areas of Winchester are set to benefit from upgraded 4G coverage this year after a pledge from the UK's mobile network operators.

EE will upgrade 40 4G sites in Hampshire this year known as 'partial not-spots' - areas where there is mobile coverage from at least one, but not all, operators.

It is part of the Shared Rural Network scheme, which comprises £500 million in government funding to eliminate hard to reach areas where there is no coverage from mobile operators.

These include areas with high summer demand, including national parks, coastal locations and key roads.

In the Winchester area, this includes Bishop’s Sutton, Bramdean, Compton, Crawley, Curdridge and Wonston.

Additionally, the 4G signal will be boosted by EE on the A33 at West Stratton and the M3 in the Itchen Valley.

Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: "I'm delighted to see the great strides EE is making to boost 4G services in countryside communities as part of the Shared Rural Network agreement, which was brokered and is part funded by the government.

"We're investing half a billion pounds in this landmark deal to extend mobile coverage to 95 per cent of the UK and it will help us build back better from the pandemic."

Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: “Reliable connectivity is important wherever you live, work or travel, and we’re committed to improving and adding coverage to even the most remote areas.

"The investment BT has made in rural areas to date means we already have the infrastructure in place needed to extend our 4G coverage footprint further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build.

"There are many places where EE is the only provider with 4G coverage today, offering the other operators an opportunity to share our existing sites to plug gaps in their networks and improve mobile performance for everyone."