EE commits to new £1.5bn network investment plan to expand 4G and improve UK rural coverage

  • EE 4G footprint to overtake 2G by 2017, with £1.5bn investment over three years, delivering superfast 4G to more than 99% of the population
  • Double-speed 4G to reach 90% of the population, with highest capacity 4G+ in 20 of the busiest UK cities by 2017
  • Rural Investment programme targeting coverage enhancements for both voice and data services to 90% of the UK geography, and world-leading performance with 99.6% reliability
  • Investment in innovation and new technologies key to ambition to connect every home in the UK and minimise coverage ‘not spots’
  • Key stakeholder in multi-year programme ensuring UK will be leader in 5G mobile technology

11th February 2015 – EE is today committing to invest £1.5 billion between now and 2017 as part of a new manifesto “Signalling the Future”, designed to tackle the UK’s changing digital infrastructure needs, and lay the foundations for the UK to be a global leader. In this second phase of its network strategy, EE will focus on extending its number one rated 4G network to more than 99% of the population and 90% of the UK’s geography.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: “Stage one of our Network strategy saw us overhaul UK mobile networks, launching 4G and changing the way people and businesses use their smart devices. This revolution of the mobile landscape has made the UK a leader in global communications once again.

“Today we’re announcing the next stage with a commitment to, once again, 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.

“Smart devices are playing an ever-increasing part in our customers’ lives in every part of the UK. With the £1.5bn 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 its Network Coverage Manifesto, EE is committing to:

  • Voice and 4G data coverage across 90% of the UK’s geography
  • 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
  • Mobile voice coverage of more than 90% of the UK’s 245,000 miles of roads by 2017, up from the current coverage of around 82%, focusing on motorways first, then A and B roads, as well as specific 4G expansion to cover the country’s busiest train routes
  • Deployment of low frequency 800MHz spectrum across the EE rural network to expand the EE’s reach by more than 1,500 square miles – an area bigger than the Lake District and Peak District National Parks combined
  • A call completion rate of 99.6% as the network carries more than 150 million calls per day
  • Introduction of 4G Voice – or VoLTE – to enable phone calls over 4G data services to thousands of homes and businesses that have never been covered by EE before
  • WiFi Calling enabled on a range of iOS, Microsoft Windows and Android devices to enable mobile calls and texts for every home, office and recreational venue with broadband from 2Mbps
  • Double speed 4G to 90% of the UK population, enabling data speeds up to 60Mbps to smartphones and tablets
  • 4G+ to twenty of the UK’s busiest cities, doubling capacity for every user and enabling 150Mbps speeds to customers with the latest devices
  • A foundation for technology and research leadership to position EE and the UK as global leaders in the 5G future

EE Principal Network Architect, Professor Andy Sutton, said: “We’ve invested in 4G and taken the UK back to a position of leadership in mobile, and now we’re investing in 5G so that we can define the next step, and keep both us and the UK mobile industry one step ahead. Working closely with academic institutions such as the 5GIC at the University of Surrey and the EU’s Horizon 2020 ‘TWEETHER’ project at Lancaster University on technologies that are truly ground-breaking, EE will continue to change the way people think of what’s possible with mobile. We will continue to evolve new 4G technologies, as they lay the perfect foundation for being a global leader in 5G.”

In reports from Ofcom, EE has recently been named as best for rural phone call quality and reliability, and best for 4G and 3G speeds and coverage. In a recent National Report from RootMetrics, with more than one millions samples taken and 24,000 miles driven, EE was ranked as the UK’s number one network, including being number one for call and data.

The “Signalling the Future” manifesto also outlines policy priorities for the next government to help accelerate the rollout of digital infrastructure in the UK.

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About EE

EE is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. EE has approximately 13,000 full time employees and 580 retail stores, and serves more than 30 million customers across its mobile, fixed and wholesale businesses.

EE runs the UK's biggest, fastest and most reliable mobile network, pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012. EE's 4G coverage today reaches more than 80% of the UK population. EE’s 2G coverage reaches 99% of the population while 3G reaches 98%. EE's superfast fibre broadband service covers 54% of the UK population, and ADSL broadband service covers 98.7% of the population.

In the last few years, EE has received extensive independent recognition including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics®, Best network at the 2014 Mobile News Awards, Fastest Network at the 2013 uSwitch Awards, Best Network at the 2014 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards and What Mobile Awards 2013, Network Innovation at the 2013 Recombu awards and Best Network for Business at the 2013 Mobile Industry awards.

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Rankings based on RootMetrics® UK RootScore® Report for mobile performance as tested on best available plans and devices on 4 mobile networks across all available network types (Jul-Dec 2014). The RootMetrics award is not an endorsement of EE. Your results may vary. See for more details.