Mobile operator EE plans to provide 4G coverage across the whole of the UK, including the most remote parts, by 2020.
EE, which currently covers 60 per cent of the UK territory with the 4G signal, said it wants to focus on rolling out 4G infrastructure in what the firm called as ‘notspots’ in coverage.
“For the average smartphone user, not-spots aren’t tolerated and 2G doesn’t deliver what they need,” said EE’s CEO Marc Allera, who announced the plans today.
“Customers want 4G speeds everywhere they go and mobile operators are too used to saying ‘no’ to new coverage. Today, I’m saying ‘yes’, with an ambition to go further than any operator has ever gone and with the ultimate aim of covering the whole UK with 4G.”
The aim is to cover 95 per cent of the UK landmass with 4G in the next four years. The current 60 per cent coverage is concentrated in areas with high population density, which means that already 95 per cent of UK residents have access to 4G networks while using data services. Calls are frequently handled by 3G networks, but EE is rolling out a 4G Calling service that would enable voice call support by 4G in all areas including those that only have 4G coverage.
4G Calling is already live in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Leeds and Newcastle and will be switched on across the rest of the network by July.
EE said that policy reforms will be necessary to building and maintaining such a widespread mobile network including changes to the Electronic Communications Code to support operators’ coverage ambitions. The firm said that the UK government and Ofcom need to work on improving network operators’ financial incentives to invest.