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16 May 2016

King West

EE Launches strategy for 95% of UK coverage at 4G

In a statement focused on improving communications within rural parts of the UK, EE set out their strategy for the next four years.

  • Major boost to rural UK, with an ambition to grow 4G coverage from 60% of UK landmass to 95% - further than any mobile operator has ever gone, and significantly beyond the furthest reaches of any 2G or 3G signal today 
  • New 4G coverage plan focussed on eradicating “notspots”, with ambition to cover customers wherever they go by 2020
  • 4G coverage switched on in Shetland and the Isles of Scilly, with support from the BT Group, signalling EE’s commitment to connect the furthest edges of the UK 

EE, the UK’s biggest mobile operator and part of the BT Group, has announced a major boost to customer service with the on-shoring of 600 customer service roles, meaning all EE customer calls are answered here in the UK and Ireland by the end of the year. 

The boost is part of CEO Marc Allera’s new plans to drive improvements to the EE customer experience with more UK customer service roles, while growing 4G coverage with the aspiration of taking 4G to the very edges of the UK.

The investment in coverage will focus on filling in outdoor ‘notspots’ in current 4G areas, and expanding 4G coverage from a UK-leading position of 60% landmass today towards an objective of 95% by 2020 – further than any mobile network has ever gone. EE is challenging the mobile industry to measure vital coverage metrics by UK geography, rather than the outdated population score used today.

EE CEO Marc Allera said:

“For the average smartphone user, not-spots aren’t tolerated and 2G doesn’t deliver what they need. Customers want 4G speeds everywhere they go, and mobile operators are too used to saying ‘no’ to new coverage. Today, I’m saying ‘yes’, with an ambition to go further than any operator has ever gone, and with the ultimate aim of covering the whole UK with 4G.”

As part of EE’s commitment to delivering the best 4G coverage in the most remote parts of the UK, superfast 4G mobile was switched on today in Shetland and the Isles of Scilly – almost 1,000 miles apart, at opposite ends of the UK – enabled by the fibre broadband links that BT has deployed.

To achieve the ambitious UK-wide 4G coverage objective, more than 750 new sites will be built. Today, EE’s 4G coverage reaches around 60% of UK geography, equal to approximately 95% of the population. Providing 4G coverage to 95% of the UK geography, would ensure ‘near-complete’ 4G coverage for the UK’s population (99.8%). This is further than existing 2G and 3G coverage from any provider

At launch, 4G was used only for data connections, with customers moving to 3G while on a call.  Now, EE is rolling out 4G Calling (VoLTE) across the UK to enable both voice and data over 4G. This will ensure customers get superfast 4G data speeds while on calls and that customers can make calls in new areas of the network that are 4G-only. 4G Calling is already live in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Leeds and Newcastle, and will be switched on across the rest of the network by July.

Policy reform will be necessary to building and maintaining such a widespread mobile network. This includes: ensuring that proposed changes to the Electronic Communications Code support operators’ coverage ambitions; that all parts of the UK build on the recent positive announcements on planning changes for England; and that industry, Government and Ofcom work together to improve network operators’ financial incentives to invest. EE will continue to consult Government and Ofcom on these issues. 

 

If you are approached by EE or any ther network provider for the purpose of placing masts, mobile sites, cabling or other hardware onto your land, King West are able to manage this process for you. Contact Ian Lindsay on idlindsay@kingwest.co.uk in the first instance.

 

EE, part of the BT Group, is the largest and most advanced mobile communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers and businesses. EE has approximately 14,000 employees and 550 retail stores, and serves more than 31 million connections across its mobile, fixed and wholesale networks.

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