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EE Set to Fuel UK Rural Mobile Connections with Avanti Satellite

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 (11:47 am) - Score 828
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The notoriously high latency times of Satellite data connectivity don’t seem to be a concern for mobile operator EE, which has just signed an initial deal worth £20m to buy capacity for cellular backhaul from UK operator Avanti.

The multi-year contract, which includes options to double the capacity if required, will result in Avanti connecting a number of cellular sites across the United Kingdom to EE’s network using their HYLAS 1 and HYLAS 2 spacecraft. Apparently the purpose of this is to “provide communications in remote areas and additional network resilience“.

The deal will no doubt also to help support EE’s delivery of the Government’s new 4G based Emergency Services Network (details), which has already said that it will need to use a combination of Satellites and “Rapid Response Vehicles” in order to ensure coverage in the most remote areas.

In keeping with that EE has also committed to expand the coverage of their 4G mobile network to reach 95% of the UK’s landmass (99.8% population coverage).

Mansoor Hanif, EE’s Director of Radio Access Networks, said:

“We are delivering a highly resilient, truly nationwide 4G network and Avanti will play a key part in providing resilience and extending this network into rural areas.”

David Williams, CEO of Avanti, said:

“We have designed the HYLAS satellite fleet to offer the highest levels of network quality and flexibility, beyond the levels that have been previously available via satellite. This contract win demonstrates those qualities and affirms our ability to deliver at the highest level.”

News of the deal initially sent Avanti’s shares some 13% higher to 103p, valuing the company at over £130 million, although they’ve today dropped back sharply to around 92p.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. Richard

    Why don’t they just offer a decent home 4g package? we can get EE 4g but only 1mb adsl, the problem with 4g is do the download limit. Satellite is pants ive used it and it is so slow but we all know that, except EE.

    • Steve Jones

      Because in many of the areas with poor broadband either have no 4G at all or very poor coverage. I suppose a subsidised 4G scheme might work, but for how long? The whole point of BDUK was that (in the upgraded areas) that the expenditure was a one-off. Once that was done it was expected that the resultant infrastructure would be commercially viable and maintained that way (it’s explicit in the BDUK requirements). A continuing subsidy to 4G doesn’t fit that model.

      With satellite I can see a subsidy scheme covering the installation, but I don’t imagine that the monthly charges will be subsidised for ever. It’s probably only viable for small numbers.

    • EE does actually have a 4G based “Home Broadband” solution, or at least it did.. the page for it on their website vanished a few months ago. In any case it was only available in a few areas, but you can search our news for it.

  2. MikeW

    You’d imagine that this deal has been done with a better class of service to access the satellite. ie it isn’t slowed down by too many cheap residential packages.

    Interesting to see the deal is via Avanti; when you look at Avonline’s satellite coverage page, you can see that they don’t recommend Tooway in England or Wales because those beams are now too busy, so recommend Avanti instead. Tooway is still usable in Scotland and Ireland, and recommended for parts of Europe.

    The statement “Satellite is pants ive used it and it is so slow but we all know that” is only true if a particular beam is over-subscribed, and the package being shared is over-subscribed. Other beams, and other packages, may run perfectly smoothly.

    I’ll say that satellite isn’t an obvious choice for backhaul, but for emergency or backup use, it beats no communication at all.

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