EE, just acquired by BT, is committing to invest £1.5 billion between now and 2017 to expand the reach of its 4G network to 99 percent of the population and 90 percent of the UK's land mass.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: “We’re announcing a commitment to radically improve mobile coverage, this time with a strong focus on rural UK, all while continuing to increase speeds and capacity with deeper coverage in more cities.”
He said: “Smart devices are playing an ever-increasing part in our customers’ lives in every part of the UK. With the £1.5 billion investment plan, and our unceasing desire to continually improve the breadth and performance of our network, we are at the forefront of the new mobile era that is changing customers' lives every day.”
As part of the investment EE is committing to using Micro Network technology to make phone calls and mobile data available in 1,500 communities that are not currently connected by either reliable mobile or high speed broadband.
There will also be the deployment of low frequency 800MHz spectrum across the EE rural network to expand EE’s reach by more than 1,500 square miles – an area bigger than the Lake District and Peak District National Parks combined, said EE. Lower frequency 800MHz is suited for providing basic connectivity in hard to reach places.
In addition, the operator is promising mobile voice coverage on more than 90 percent of the UK’s 245,000 miles of roads by 2017, up from the current coverage of around 82 percent, focusing on motorways first, then A and B roads. There will also be specific 4G expansion to cover the country’s busiest train routes, the operator said.
In the second half of 2014, the National RootScore Report from RootMetrics, based on more than one million samples taken and 24,000 miles driven, EE was ranked as the UK’s number one overall network, including being ranked number one for call and mobile internet network performance. Tests were conducted around the clock, indoors, outdoors and whilst driving.