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London,
23
November
2016
|
12:02
Europe/London

EE calls on industry to get 'Clear on Coverage' as it covers 5,000 square kilometres of 4G not spots overnight

  • Calls on competitors to provide customers with greater clarity on where they can make a call and use data across the UK by making geographic coverage the standard industry measurement
  • Switches on new 800MHz frequency 4G signal to boost superfast coverage to 75% of the UK, supporting ambition to provide 95% coverage across the UK landmass by 2020
  • 4GEE now available across more of the country than any 3G network in the UK, marking the UK’s fastest coverage expansion
  • In line with commitment to be number one for customer experience, EE also brings back 100% customer service calls from abroad to UK call centres by December

EE, the UK’s biggest mobile operator and part of BT Group, is calling for all mobile operators to get ‘Clear on Coverage’ and deliver clearer information about where customers can expect to get a mobile signal. An EE survey of 4,000 UK mobile users revealed that confusion about mobile network coverage has led to false expectations about where customers can make calls and use data, particularly in rural areas.

EE’s CEO is pledging to report all coverage in geographic terms from January 2017, delivering on the call he made in April for better reporting on coverage and experience across the mobile industry. Marc Allera has written an open letter to all three mobile operator CEOs, and has asked Ofcom for support in driving the entire mobile industry to get ‘Clear on Coverage’.

EE CEO Marc Allera said:

“From streaming music to making video calls, our customers use their smartphones wherever they go and tell us loud and clear that a 4G signal is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a ‘must have’. Today, people think they will get mobile coverage absolutely everywhere, because as an industry we’ve talked about coverage with confusing population metrics, and language that sets the wrong expectations. Too often, the customer experience has been very different from the marketing. That has to stop.

“We’re asking our peers and the mobile industry to get ‘Clear on Coverage’. All operators should publish clearer geographic coverage information, and we’re seeking support from Ofcom as the independent source of information on mobile coverage and quality. We want to make it easier and clearer for consumers to know where they will and won’t get coverage, and which network is the right one for them.”

As part of EE’s promise to get ‘Clear on Coverage’, EE will:

  • Stop using population coverage measurements in isolation when communicating with customers
  • Publish regular updates on geographic coverage and data speed by county and by major roads
  • Work with Ofcom to provide consumer advice on the role of devices in network experience
  • Meet with Ofcom and all operator CEOs to agree next steps on how to get ‘Clear on Coverage’

EE’s ‘Clear on Coverage’ survey by research house ICM surveyed 4,000 consumers and found that:

  1. Based on current advertised population metrics*, 50% of consumers expect to have mobile signal wherever they go in the UK
  2. Nearly half of all UK mobile users don’t know what coverage measurement to look for when choosing a mobile network provider, despite rating network coverage as one of their most important considerations
  3. A third of all UK mobile users are least satisfied with their mobile network coverage when travelling
  4. The area where UK mobile users are least satisfied about their mobile coverage is when they are travelling in rural areas

*based on network provider telling UK mobile users they have 99% population coverage

Sarah Lee, head of policy, Countryside Alliance said:

“We welcome EE’s call for the mobile industry to deliver clearer information to customers about where they can expect to get a signal. It is vital that mobile consumers are able to make an informed decision about which network has the potential to serve them best.

“I am glad that EE recognises that the lack of clear information for consumers has been a particular problem in rural areas. We believe that the move towards reporting all coverage in geographic terms by January 2017 is a step in the right direction and has the potential to offer significant benefits to rural consumers. The Countryside Alliance have long believed that the population based approach to monitoring coverage has failed consumers in rural areas.”

Largest network expansion in the UK

EE is the first to embrace clearer geographic measurements and is working towards covering 95% of the UK with 4G by 2020. This year alone, EE has added 4G coverage to 25% of the UK landmass, and has now connected 75% of the UK with superfast speeds.

4G from EE is now available in more places than any 3G network, just four years after launch, marking the UK’s fastest network expansion.

Today, EE has also switched on its low frequency 800MHz spectrum on 700 sites across the country, filling in 5,000 square kilometres of 4G not spots overnight and improving indoor signal in 500,000 homes. Parts of Shropshire, Somerset, Snowdonia, Oban, Glasgow, Berkshire and Derbyshire are among those getting 4G for the first time thanks to the switch on. Another 3,000 sites will be equipped with the low frequency spectrum before the end of 2017.

Customers will need a 4G Calling-capable phone to use the new low frequency signal. 4G Calling is available on monthly SIM and handset plans, on the majority of EE’s device range. EE is committing today to launch its first 4G Calling smartphone under £100 in 2017 to provide an affordable choice for customers who simply want outstanding call quality and reliability, but may not need all of the features of the latest 4G smartphones.

100% UK & Ireland EE Customer Service

Following the onshoring of all EE Pay monthly customer service calls in July, EE will also complete its commitment to answer all EE customer service calls in the UK and Ireland by onshoring Pay as you go and Home customer service calls in December.

As part of EE’s plan to be number one for customer experience, EE has created more than 1,000 new call centre jobs in North Tyneside, Darlington, Plymouth and Merthyr Tydfil in 2016. EE’s customer service improvements have seen complaints drop 50% year on year, now well below the industry average with fewer than five complaints per 100,000 customers, and customer churn has fallen to its lowest ever levels at just 1%.

EE has also launched an innovative Network Status Checker tool, to provide real-time and personal updates to customers about network performance. Customers can set tailored alerts for places that are important to them, such as their place of work, home or home of a loved one, and they will receive personalised alerts if there are network issues.

To learn more about EE’s mobile coverage with indications of indoor and outdoor signal on 2G, 3G and 4G customers can use EE’s online coverage checker.

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For more information on 4G Calling from EE please visit: http://ee.co.uk/help/phones-and-device/4g-calling

For more information, please contact:

ee@nelsonbostock.com

0845 373 7070

About EE

EE, part of BT Group, is the largest and most advanced mobile communications company in the UK, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers.

EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, having pioneered the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012, and was the first European operator to surpass 14 million 4G customers in Dec 2015. EE has more than 550 shops across the UK. EE's 4G coverage today reaches more than three quarters of the UK geography. EE plans to extend 4G to 95% geographic coverage by 2020.

EE has received extensive independent recognition, including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics®; Best Network at the 2014 and 2015 Mobile News Awards; Best Network at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards 2016; Best Consumer Network at the 2015 & 2016 Mobile Industry Awards; Best Network and Best Customer Support at the What Mobile Awards 2016; as well as Fastest Network at the 2014 and 2016 uSwitch Mobile Awards.

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