EE announces major investment to bring 4G services to 95% of the UK landmass by 2020

BT completed its acquisitions of EE earlier this year for £12.5bn, creating a communications giant capable of offering “quad-play” services; TV, broadband, mobile and landline phone.  BT has now announced a major investment drive to bring 4G services to 95% of the UK landmass by 2020. EE’s new CEO Marc Allera, who replaced Olaf Swantee following the BT takeover, announced the investment on 24 April 2016. The extract below from an article published by on 25 April 2016 provides further detail on this announcement;

“The expectation now is to be able to access the internet wherever you go and we want to cover 95% of the UK land mass,” said Allera at a press briefing. “We have a phenomenal network that had more 4G customers than any other in Europe, yet we only cover 60% of the UK land mass today. So we’re going to increase our 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2020, which is further than anyone has gone before and will put us on a par with countries like Japan and South Korea. We’re declaring war on notspots.”

Much of this will take place over the next 18 months, with EE aiming to get its geographical coverage up to 92% by the end of 2017. The UK government has demanded 90% geographical voice coverage by the end of 2017. Symbolically EE switched on 4G in Shetland and the Scilly Isles this weekend.

The key to this rapid geographical expansion is the 800 MHz spectrum EE acquired in the 4G spectrum auctions. It only has 2×5 MHz of paired spectrum, and the aim was always for it to be used for rural coverage as well as filling some urban notspots. This will also mean some areas are covered by 4G so EE will be rolling out VoLTE to the rest of its network by this July and EE will have enabled around 4,000 sites with 800 MHz by 2020, including 750 new sites..

EE is also overhauling its customer service operations, with the headline move being that all of its customer service calls will be handled in the UK, which means the creation of 600 customer service positions. Things already seem to be headed in the right direction according to a recent Ofcom report and EE is keen to build on that momentum.”

This investment is likely to also be linked to the announcement made last year that EE has been selected by the Home Office to provide Britain’s Emergency Services Network (ESN).  The phased transition from the secure Airwave TETRA network to EE’s network is to begin in mid-2017, which is when EE hopes to achieve 92% 4G geographical coverage. When EE made the announcement in December 2015 that it had won the ESN contract it also pledged network investment by building more than 500 new 4G sites.  If you would like to discuss this or the BT-EE acquisition further please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

EE Limited

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