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EE reaches 90 per cent 4G population coverage, broadband growth crawls

EE has rolled out 4G services to 90 per cent of the British population, with 70 per cent of folks now able to get up to 60Mbps ‘double speed’ on their phones. 

This sees EE finally hitting its initial target, which was to cover 90 per cent of the population by the end of 2014. 

Though it’s slipped from this self-imposed target somewhat, EE has in the same timeframe launched WiFi Calling as a native feature on phones like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and switched on up to 300Mbps LTE-Advanced services in London

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: “Our established leadership in 4G and key differentiators such as WiFi Calling are working well for the business. 

“We’re the clear network market leader and this, combined with our strong operational performance, has led to a return to revenue growth while delivering our best ever EBITDA [Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization] margin.”

Now EE plans to see 99 per cent of the population covered by 2017 and plug rural not-spots with easy-to-assemble micro cells. It’s even considered using drones to provide extra signal in poorly served areas. 

Over 1.5 million customers moved over to EE to take advantage of its bigger, faster 4G network in the last three months. EE predicts that its current total base of 4G mobile customers (10.9 million) will grow to 14 million by the end of the year. 

While everything’s looking great for EE on the mobile side of things, as a fixed-line ISP, EE has enjoyed slightly less exciting growth, adding just 35,000 new broadband customers in the last quarter. This is down from 50,000 new customers from three months ago, taking the size of EE’s broadband customer base to around 919,000. 

Should the £12.5 billion merger with BT go ahead, these subscribers will effectively become BT customers, which will see the UK’s biggest ISP by subscriber size cement its already dominant position. 

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