EE extends 4G coverage to 500 rural areas

UK operator EE served up 4G to an additional rural 500 locations over past year, covering over 420 square miles.

Following the extension, EE says it intends to hook up another 900 areas to its 4G network by 2024, in what it calls its Shared Rural Network programme, as it reaches for 95% coverage. In total, EE boasts it has upgraded 1362 sites since this programme began in March 2020.

There is an effort to tie this rollout in particular to road coverage over the Christmas period – and while the roads in many up until now unconnected rural areas will of course now benefit from 4G goodness just like the country lanes and cow fields will, what Christmas has to do with it is anyone guess.

In any case, EE informs us that roads getting better coverage from EE thanks to the expansion include the M1, M4 and M6 in England, A487, A489 and A4212 in Wales, A838, A85 and A90 in Scotland and A1 and A24 in Northern Ireland.

“BT is committed to ensuring that even the most remote areas of the country are connected,” Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group. “Despite a challenging economic environment, we’re continuing to invest in rural infrastructure to achieve that. EE’s 4G has expanded by 500 square miles over the past year and we continue to be the sole provider of mobile services in many areas of the UK.”

Meanwhile competitor UK operator Three has commenced building what it calls the UK’s first joint Shared Rural Network site, which will ‘transform connectivity for residents and businesses on the Isle of Mull,’ we’re told.

The new site is expected to be live in early 2023 and will deliver connectivity to Vodafone and O2 customers, in an agreement that will see each operator build 74 shared sites. The overall project is intended to increase geographic coverage from 56% of Scotland’s landmass to at least 72% by 2024.

Iain Milligan, CNO of Three UK, said: “Mobile connectivity is absolutely critical for communities in every part of the UK, helping to support the local economy and keeping people connected with their friends and family. I am proud that Three is leading the way by delivering the first of these shared sites in the Scottish Isles where I believe it will have a transformative effect on coverage.”

With all the travel disruption that doesn’t look like its going away anytime soon, it’s nice to know that if you’re opting to stay in the country for holidays to various rural areas you’ll still be able to enjoy some 4G action when you get sick of the family and want to stream Netflix.


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