EE added an extra 1.4 million 4G customers in the last three months, but its fixed-line broadband services continue to grow slowly.
The UK’s biggest mobile network now has a whopping 5.3 million 4G customers. EE’s 4G services are available to more than 75 per cent of the population now and the network wants to have 90 per cent covered by the end of the year.
In the same time that EE added over a million 4G customers, only 18,000 punters signed up for its domestic broadband service in the last quarter.
EE now has 793,000 broadband customers, up by 93,000 from a year ago. EE sells regular ADSL broadband which is available to roughly 98.7 per cent of UK premises. EE’s FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)-based superfast services, providing download speeds of up to 38Mbps and 76Mbps, are available to 54 per cent of the UK.
The arrival of EE TV, a free digital TV platform for EE broadband customers, could see broadband figures climb up although it doesn’t offer customers much more than a Freeview or YouView box bought of the shelf would in terms of channels and services.
Neal Milsom, chief financial officer of EE said: “We are investing to further innovate on behalf of our customers by delivering not just the best network but also improvements in customer service, a range of attractive EE branded devices, Shared Plans, and soon EE TV.”
While it gets ready to launch EE TV, the network isn’t resting on its 4G laurels. EE is launching LTE-Advanced services later this month, which promises to greatly increase speeds possible on the network, even if you don’t have the latest and greatest phone or mobile broadband dongle.
LTE-Advanced will only be available in central London initially, before rolling out to Greater London next year. In the meantime, EE plans to bring double-speed broadband to 40 cities around the UK by the end of 2014.
EE is also trialling voice calls over 4G, which could be of more interest to those in the sticks than the big cities. As well as promising clearer calls, 4G voice calls – or ‘Voice over LTE’ in industry-speak – should allow for improved reception in areas where signal has been notoriously patchy.
Because the EE was allowed to roll out 4G services first, it has a big advantage over O2, Vodafone and Three who are currently lagging behind in 4G coverage. However, Three is putting great effort into improving its 4G infrastructure by jumping on the back of EE’s network and offering 4G as a free upgrade to existing 3G customers.
4G voice calls or not, the company has stumped up £1.5 billion to improve voice coverage including £275m each year from 2012 to 2014.