EE is making preparations for the rural phase of its 4G rollout plan, with a new goal of reaching 90 percent of the population by December 2014.
The mobile network giant is continuing on its quest to become the UK’s largest and most expansive 4G network provider, by turning its attention to the country’s more rural areas. EE’S original ambition was to reach 95% of the population by the end of the year, but it announced last Christmas it would be scaling back its goal after Ofcom raised the rental charges for mobile spectrum.
This next phase of EE‘s 4G rollout plan will see rural areas like the village of Silverburn in the south of Edinburgh, which has a population of just 65 inhabitants, be plugged into EE’s superfast mobile network. The operator will target settlements of less than 10,000, which if successful, will bring it into closer contact with more than 3.5 million people.
It is supposed that the mobile network may even provide a better way of accessing the internet than fixed-line broadband, even for data-heavy activities like watching videos and streaming music. EE boss Olaf Swantee said the company is dedicated to offering its customers “the best network experience”, adapting its network to make 4G available “where it matters most”.
EE is also carrying out plans to reduce the number of dropped calls made on its network due to moving vehicles. This has involved company engineers being sent out to wire up motorways and A roads, of which the 117-mile-long M25 around London is already complete.
There are now 3.6 million customers on EE’s 4G network, of which 1.6 million joined this year alone. 55% of customers joining or upgrading are also choosing superfast connections with EE rather than entering into contracts with Orange or T-Mobile, which only offer 3G.
EE’S signup rate is currently faster than that of Vodafone‘s, which announced this week it has added 137,000 new customers since Christmas. The network has made plans to one-up EE by claiming it will reach 99% of the UK population in two years.