EE’s 4G rollout continues to gather pace with 14 more towns across the UK now able to get faster mobile broadband speeds.
The rollout sees 73 per cent of the total UK population now able to get 4G from EE. Top speeds available on certain parts of the network are an eye-watering 300Mbps, but according to independent tests, most people will get around 20-30Mbps.
EE’s 4G network now covers 299 towns and cities and over 2,500 villages. Going forwards, remote and rural locations will be the main focus of EE’s rollout.
Olaf Swantee, EE chief executive said: “We’re continuing to invest in bringing superfast 4G and the best quality of phone calls to more places in all four corners of the UK.”
“We are switching on hundreds of 4G sites, and upgrading as many 2G and 3G sites, each month, and many of those are in rural areas where there is a real demand for voice and data services.”
News of the latest expansion comes in the wake of EE announcing plans to trial WiFi calling and 4G voice calls later in the year. The trials will include a test of 4G signals on the 800MHz band in rural Oxfordsahire, to see if 4G can plug the UK’s remaining signal not-spots.
The 800MHz band of the airwaves is theoretically good for this kind of thing as it can travel long distances and can penetrate fairly deeply into homes – so much so that it was once feared that 4G signals on 800MHz would screw up Freeview.
WiFi calling will see customers able to use WiFi networks to route voice calls and texts over, in a similar manner to how Virgin Media SmartCall works, the main difference being that EE’s WiFi calls will happen natively – you won’t need to dive into an app to make it work, it’s a feature that will happen automatically as soon as you connected to an authenticated WiFi hotspot.
EE has previously spoken to plans to make its 4G network available to 98 per cent of the population by 2015. Ofcom wants all of the UK mobile networks to have reached this target by 2016, and EE, which was given a head start on Vodafone, O2 and Three, wants to go one better.
The towns going live with EE 4G today are: Mansfield, Swinton, Jarrow, Kirkby, Wishaw, Ilkeston, Castleford, Walton-On-Thames, Totton, Carrickfergus, Newton Abbot, Wimborne Minster, Ramsbottom and Dumbarton.
In a less permanent, but fun move, EE is also bringing 4G-powered WiFi to this year’s Galstonbury festival, in the form of cow-shaped access points.
Image: Geograph/Albert Bridge