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26th July 2023: New mobile ‘mini-masts’ have been installed by EE on street furniture like lamp-posts and phone boxes in Edinburgh to help boost mobile coverage in the busiest areas of the city.

The Scottish capital is the UK’s second most popular tourist destination after London, and the mobile mast installations come as the city prepares for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

During August, it’s estimated that the population of the city doubles, as more than 500,000 people visit for the festivals.

The mini antennas, known as small cells, are now delivering enhanced 4G capacity in high demand areas of the city. Small cells take advantage of existing street assets, such as BT’s iconic red telephone boxes, to help enhance street-level mobile coverage in busy areas where it’s impractical to build larger masts, such as city-centres and transport hubs.

In Edinburgh, EE has worked with partners including Edinburgh Council and Nokia to deploy small cells to boost capacity in busy locations including the Royal Mile, University of Edinburgh, Princes Street, Chambers Street and the National Museum, and the West End.

Responding to the news, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “Visitors to the festival are increasingly using their smartphones for electronic ticketing, searching programme listings, booking tickets on the go, and navigating to the various venues. Many of these are things visitors will be able to do from the new official EdFringe app. People are also keen to share their experiences with friends and family and social media throughout the festival.

“All of this depends on having good access to mobile networks. It's vital therefore that the city's mobile networks can cope with this significant increase in demand during the summer. We welcome any steps like these new mini mobile masts to help boost network capacity in these busy locations.”

As well as being located on phone boxes, lamp-posts and CCTV columns, EE can also install small cells on BT’s innovative new digital Street Hubs.

James Hope, Director of Mobile Radio Access Networks at EE, said: “Edinburgh is a prime example of a city that can benefit from these small cell masts. The city is said to be built on seven hills and has plenty of old buildings, all of which pose a challenge to mobile coverage. It also sees huge peaks in mobile traffic in confined areas during major events. Small cells help customers continue to benefit from our fastest 4G speeds, even at the busiest times and in the most congested of locations.

“Our new digital Street Hubs also have the potential to help increase the number of small cells in the city. We’ll continue to discuss our plans with the council and we hope that Edinburgh will join other cities, such as Glasgow and Birmingham, where our new Street Hubs are already providing communities with the digital facilities needed for the future.”

14 mini masts are already live in Edinburgh, with four more sites to go live by the end of July. EE plans to deploy more small cell sites throughout the city in areas where it forecasts network congestion.



The work in Edinburgh is part of EE’s wider commitment to boosting mobile connectivity in high-demand urban areas through the use of small cells, with the company recently surpassing 600 such installations across the UK. These sites currently carry 20TB of data traffic every day – the equivalent of streaming 8,000 hours of HD video or 280,000 hours of music.

Sites are identified via advanced network analytics, which highlights specific locations that would most benefit from the performance boost enabled by a small cell.

Some underused payphones in towns and cities across the UK are being replaced by BT's new digital units called Street Hubs. The free to use digital units offer ultra-fast public Wi-Fi, emergency calls, USB device charging and a range of local information.

Nokia’s AirScale technology can also be upgraded to 5G, and EE is currently trialling the extension of small cells to accommodate its 5G network.

EE, this week named the UK’s best mobile network* for a record-breaking tenth consecutive year, has also been recognised as the best network individually for reliability, accessibility, speed, data, calls and texts. Its small cell deployments across the UK are an important factor in delivering high performance for customers in each of these categories in areas of high demand. 

* Network data based on rankings from the RootMetrics® UK RootScore® Report: 1H 2023. The RootMetrics award is not an endorsement of EE. Visit for more details. Find more information at

About The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is a registered charity which was founded by artists to nurture and uphold the Fringe's values of inclusivity, experimentation and imagination. For more information, visit the Fringe Society website.


About EE

EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, offering superfast connections in more places than any other operator. EE brought the first 4G network to the UK in October 2012 and launched the UK’s first 5G network in May 2019.

 EE’s mobile network has received extensive independent recognition, including being named the UK’s no.1 5G network by RootMetrics® in 2020 and 2021, and the UK’s best overall network by RootMetrics® every year since 2014, as well as being named Network of the Year at the 2022 Mobile Industry Awards.

 As well as delivering mobile services to consumers, small and medium businesses, corporate customers and Government programmes, EE also provides home and business broadband using both 4G and fixed line connections.

EE is committed to being number one for service in the industry and has nearly 600 shops across the UK. EE remains the only mobile provider to answer 100% of customer calls in the UK and Ireland and was recognised as the UK’s Best Large Contact Centre by the UK Customer Experience Awards 2018 and Welsh Contact Centre Awards 2019. EE was awarded The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work for in 2018 and 2019, as well as being named Best Employer 2018 by the European Contact Centre & Customer Service awards.

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