EE network to carry an exabyte of data a year by 2018

  • EE celebrates reaching 10million 4G customers making it Europe’s biggest 4G network
  • As 4G data overtakes 3G for the first time, EE’s Mobile Living Index (EEMLI) predicts network will carry more than one Exabyte of data per year by 2018
  • mHealth usage increasing 63% as faster connectivity encourages a new wave in virtual healthcare
  • EE brings 4G customer experiences to life through series of stunning visuals produced by digital artist, Colin Hayward


EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, has announced it is the first European operator to surpass the 10million 4G customer landmark. To mark the occasion, EE has released its latest 4GEE Mobile Living Index, which has analysed EE’s 4G mobile data use and customer trends since early 2013.

With customer numbers and data usage growing at the current rate, EE predicts that a colossal amount of data, at least a one Exabyte of data (1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes), will be carried across the network per year by 2018. This is triple the amount of data the network carries today, 16 times more than over the 3G network in 2012. This is the equivalent of streaming 38,000 years of HD films.

The increase in data is being fuelled by video and social media (now representing 51% of data on the network), as well as by new industries and sectors looking towards mobile connectivity to better serve businesses and consumers.

The EEMLI shows a 63% rise in the use of health-related apps on the network since August last year, as more reliable connectivity encourages people to use their phones in new ways:

  • More than one in four customers use some form of mHealth monitoring, from calorie counting to tracking blood pressure
  • Nearly 50% would happily conduct video consultations with GPs rather than visiting the surgery in person. EE already works with the NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group who securely transmit images of patients’ moles and skin lesions to a team of skin specialists for rapid diagnosis via 4G. This drastically  reduces the pressure on secondary care (74% of patients who had images submitted have not needed further treatment / assessment)
  • Two in three customers say they would like the opportunity to manage their prescriptions via their mobile devices

4G Data Growth

For the first time on the EE network, total 4G traffic has now passed 3G traffic as coverage reaches new places. Rural areas are benefiting significantly. Since the introduction of 4G, data usage in rural parts of Scotland has increased 60%, usage in rural Wales is up 50%, and data in the South West of England is up 49%.

Olaf Swantee, EE’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “EE pioneered 4G in the UK and we’re determined to keep the country at the forefront of innovation. We were the first to launch 4G+, and the first to introduce WiFi Calling in the UK. We are bringing our 4G network coverage to where it is needed most – enhancing the quality of life of people who live in the most rural and underserved parts of the country. Our network advances have truly unlocked the power of the mobile internet, so much so that customer usage is doubling and we predict our 4G network, built for capacity, will comfortably handle more than an Exabyte of data per year by 2018.

“People are using 4G to change how they live and work, and one of the most exciting areas to watch is healthcare, which looks set to be transformed by access to superfast 4G.”

Other key findings from the 4GEE Mobile Living Index include:

  • Seamless streaming: YouTube rules the roost as the most popular service, driving 67% of overall video streaming
  • Mobile mapping: Apple maps remains the most popular source of GPS, representing 73% of traffic. Google maps follows at 21%
  • Mobile gaming: PlayStation wins battle of the consoles, securing 37% of network gaming traffic. Meanwhile Steam and Xbox Live follow with a 28% and 19% share respectively.
  • Email: Microsoft email services (MSN and Outlook) are the clear favourites for 4GEE customers, garnering 45% of overall email traffic
  • Music: Almost half (44%) of all music streaming is via Soundcloud, well ahead of Spotify (29%) and Deezer (10%)

To celebrate the 10million customer milestone, EE has commissioned digital artist, Colin Hayward, to design a series of unique images representing a day of 4G data activity across the EE network, based on the EE Mobile Living Index.

From social media, video streaming and web browsing to gaming, instant messaging and mapping – the flower illustrates the millions of everyday mobile interactions enabled by 4G, while the roots capture the huge volumes of data used across the network.

10 limited edition prints will be given away over EE’s social media channels this month to mark the 10million milestone.          


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Notes to editors

Overall Traffic on the Network:

  • Keeping up-to-date on the latest family news and current affairs makes up 30% of traffic on the 4GEE network with people web browsing and keeping in touch via email
  • Video uploading, downloading and streaming accounts for 28% of overall traffic
  • Selfies also continue to dominate, with social media usage remaining steady and driving 23% of network usage.

EE Data Visualisation Background

Each of the ten pieces of art illustrate ‘a single day in the life of EE’s 4G network’, using different categories of data usage from the latest 4GEE Mobile Living Index. The Mobile Living Index shows there’s a huge volume of data travelling through EE’s network to its customers, which means millions of customers are performing millions of activities each day and digital artist, Colin Hayward, has reflected this by showing how the volumes of data translate into real world actions.

Each point on a sphere/flower represents a given number of actions, or activities, performed on the network (e.g. 50 map loads).  Because customers can be anywhere when they perform these actions, the location of each point is selected randomly.  Each of the points is fed by the data in the root element, so the lines of data flow from the source, through EE’s 4G network to its customers.

The root-like element represents the volume of data being consumed. The sources of this data are wide and varied, both in terms of type and geographic or network location, so the artist has chosen to create the illustration using a recursion based technique.  Each change of direction in the vertices represents a given amount of data (e.g. 100MB). The more data there is the more complex the root system becomes.


For more information, please contact the EE press team on:

0845 373 7070


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 employees and 548 retail stores, and serves more than 30 million customers across its mobile, fixed and wholesale businesses.

EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012. EE's 4G coverage today reaches more than 87% of the UK population. EE’s 2G coverage reaches 99% of the population while 3G reaches 98%. EE's superfast fibre broadband service covers 74% 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 and 2015 Mobile News Awards; Fastest Network at the 2013 and 2014 uSwitch Awards; Best Network at the 2014 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards and the What Mobile Awards 2013 and 2014; Number One for Network Innovation at the 2013 Recombu Awards; Best Mobile Network at the 2014 Recombu Awards; Best Network for Business at the 2013 and 2014 Mobile Industry Awards; and Best Consumer Network at the 2014 Mobile Industry Awards