4GEE, the U.K.’s first — and still, its only — 4G network, owned by carrier EE, is continuing to grow its coverage footprint. Currently the network reaches less than half (45 per cent) of the U.K.’s population but by the summer EE will have built it out to cover a majority (55 per cent) of the U.K.’s people.
EE’s rivals are in the process of bidding for spectrum to build their own 4G networks, with the earliest timeframe for the likes of O2 and Vodafone to launch their own 4G networks being Spring/Summer, according to telecoms regulator Ofcom’s auction timetable. Which means that EE will be able to claim its network reaches a majority of the U.K.’s population while its rivals are still scrambling to get off the starting blocks.
EE said today it would be switching on a further 27 towns and cities by June as it builds out coverage. A week ago the carrier announced it had added nine more towns to the rollout, to bring the coverage level up to 45 per cent of the population — claiming its rollout was ahead of its schedule of covering 98 per cent of the population by 2014.
Between April and June, EE said it will switch on 4G in the following 27 towns and cities:
Aldershot, Ashford, Basildon, Basingstoke, Blackpool, Bracknell, Camberley, Colchester, Crawley, Farnborough, Guildford, Horsham, Huddersfield, Leatherhead, Maidstone, Milton Keynes, Oldham, Oxford, Redhill, Reigate, Sevenoaks, Stevenage, Tonbridge, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Warrington, Wigan and Woking
While EE has continually declined to reveal the number of sign-ups it’s had for 4GEE, it today named some of the business customers using its network – name-checking Addison Lee, Foxtons, Gatwick Airport, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Kier, Microsoft, Morrisons, Sony Music, TNT Post and Urban Outfitters.
Olaf Swantee, Chief Executive Officer, EE, said in a statement: “Our business customers want a 4G network that covers the markets in which they operate, and that is exactly what we are building for them – and at a phenomenal rate. We’re set to cover more than half of the UK population by Summer, staying ahead of the schedule that we set for ourselves at launch.”
On Monday the U.K.’s smallest mobile network Three, which is unlikely to be able to launch 4G before September as it waits to acquire the necessary spectrum, said it will not be charging its customers a premium to use LTE – in contrast to EE’s strategy of putting a pricing premium on 4G and requiring customers to sign new contracts.