The BT-owned EE has a commitment to ensure 95 per cent of the UK landmass is covered by 4G by 2020, and seeing as how that deadline is coming up fast it's been doing a lot to fill in the so-called 'notspots' and get the people in them connected. Over the past year its managed to add an extra 12,000 square kilometres to its network, but what's more some of those areas didn't actually have mobile signal to begin with.
In fact EE has revealed that over 200 calls to 999 have been made in these areas, where people would previously have been unable to call for help.
This push has included adding 4G capabilities to 4,000 of its sites across the UK, along with the construction of 105 brand new sites in areas like the Scottish Highlands and the surrounding islands. By the end of last year it had managed to cover 90 per cent of the UK with its 4G network, meaning EE has the best coverage of any of the major UK networks. The work isn't over, though, and there are plans to construct at least 350 more sites to reach the 95 per cent goal.
EE has also made it clear that the coverage will be spread across all four countries that make up the UK, noting that over 75 per cent of Scotland had 4G coverage at the end of 2017. ISPreview notes that new 4G sites in the country have been switched on in remote locations like Glencoe, CairnGorm Mountain, the Isle of Skye, along with West Dumfries and Galloway.
It's worth mentioning that this isn't all being down out of the goodness of EE's heart or to seriously one-up the competition. The 95 per cent target is required as part of EE’s £1.2bn Emergency Services Network (ESN) contract with the government. That also means rival networks will also be able to install some of their own equipment at the new sites.
Marc Allera, CEO of EE, said:
“Our customers need a 4G connection wherever they go. We’ve added an enormous amount of coverage in the last year, upgrading existing sites and building completely new ones to keep our customers connected in more places than ever before. Mobile coverage is critical to consumers and businesses and can provide a lifeline for those in need of support from the emergency services – that’s why we keep focusing on filling in more mobile not-spots across Britain.”