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EE UK Fills 12000km2 of UK Notspots for Mobile Network Coverage

Monday, March 19th, 2018 (2:30 pm) - Score 4,072

Mobile operator EE has announced that they’ve “filled in” 12,000 square kilometres of mobile not-spots in the last 12 months, which forms part of their aim to extend geographic (landmass) 4G network coverage to 95% of the UK by the end of December 2020 (currently 90%).

In keeping with that EE says they’ve upgraded more than 4,000 existing sites to provide 4G and built 105 brand new sites (with a further 350 being built). The new sites, many of which are in areas that have previously had no coverage from any operator, are said to have already carried more than 200 emergency ‘999 calls‘ from people that may previously have been left without help.

For example, new 4G sites have been switched on in remote locations across Scotland, including Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands, CairnGorm Mountain, and the Isle of Skye, as well as West Dumfries and Galloway. This work has already seen geographic 4G coverage in Scotland pass the 75% mark at the end of 2017 (further than any other operator).

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.”

We should point out that a lot of the new sites are being delivered as part of EE’s £1.2bn Emergency Services Network (ESN) contract with the government, which also means that rival operators will be able to place their own kit on some of the same infrastructure.

Meanwhile Ofcom recently adopted a much stricter way of measuring mobile network coverage, which will be applied when the regulator comes to auction off the 700MHz band and attach related coverage obligations (here). In other words, future bidders on that band will need to ensure that they’re able to deliver much stronger geographic coverage, particularly for 5G services.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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22 Responses
  1. 3G Infinity (now 4G going on 5G) says:

    Brilliant for Skye, how about Hampshire. We’re 2 miles from the A3 and its pitiful, come to think though vf and O2 are as bad if not worse.

  2. Chris says:

    Really is fantastic to see investment in these areas.
    Many parts of northern Scotland haven’t seen network investment since 2G was installed in the 90s.

  3. Mike says:

    Still no service be it 3G or 4G for anyone on EE when in my back garden. Another company self promotion bit of dross

    1. apolloa says:

      Haha yes, I’m in Dorset like Mark and where I live they all promise 4G, yet I can only really get a stable 4G 2 bar signal on O2 who DON’T advertise as having full coverage where I live.. so I pay peanuts for a Tesco sim only deal 🙂

      They do seem to talk the talk these companies and their coverage.

    2. FibreFred says:

      So because you don’t get a signal the press release is a load of dross? Fascinating.

    3. Mike says:

      No because many of the comments don’t either…

      PS not entering a long debate with you either so get back under the stairs!

    4. Kevin says:

      EE’s coverage is crap.

    5. Mike says:

      People just randomly go with a network and expect it to “just work”, if only they did a little research before hand…

  4. Richard says:

    Dead spot between Garforth and Micklefield near Leeds today
    Dead spots on M62 near Brighouse.

    They’ve still got some work to do.

  5. Tim says:

    Less than 2 miles from a motorway junction “Good outdoor coverage, weak or no indoor coverage” – Yep still no indoor coverage even for calls. O2 is the only one that works here.

  6. Simon says:

    Can you ask them to provide a list/details of the 105 they claim to have built, and the 350 they are saying are being built? Even if just dots on a map rather than exact postcode listings?

    Otherwise these boasts by EE just sound like someone (at EE) making up numbers without the evidence to back up the claim.

    And is this new in-fill coverage available to all 4G users on EE or only Pay Monyhly/Business, excluding PAYG – I’ve read the 800Mhz isn’t available to PAYG customers, due to billing complexities (just like WiFi calling and other features) so the UK coverage percentage and maps don’t apply to the millions of PAYG customers on EE… I’d like to know what EE and OFCOMs thoughts are to that.

    1. 3G Infinity (now 4G going on 5G) says:

      Where did you read that, and is it specific to one operator?

    2. Simon says:

      “Where did you read that, and is it specific to one operator?”

      Appear to be specific to EE, but I think also across their other piggyback brands (BT/Plusnet)





      Same “billing issue” affects EE’s Wifi Calling for PAYG users too, with multiple posts about that on their community forum since it launched in April 2015. EE seem to have very little interest in changing whatever is affecting their system, I can only presume so as they can try to persuade people on to contracts instead. Thing is, I’ll not sign up for a contract when I’m lucky to get 2G and a rare 1 bar of 3G every now and then if the wind is blowing the trees in the right direction and it hasn’t rained for the past 24 hours or so…

    3. New_Londoner says:

      “Thing is, I’ll not sign up for a contract when I’m lucky to get 2G and a rare 1 bar of 3G every now and then if the wind is blowing the trees in the right direction and it hasn’t rained for the past 24 hours or so…”

      Of course the combination of a contract plus the right phone would give you access to 800MHz which may give you far better coverage than you can get currently.

  7. Paul Hutchinson says:

    I live in Suffolk and on bt no 4G or mobile reception where I live. Holiday in lanzarote 4G loads of it Vodafone and movistar why can’t I roam in my own country?

    1. You can roam in your own country. You just have to pay for it. There are are a few relatively expensive mobile providers that allow roaming across multiple operators within the UK. Their costs are prohibitively expensive for most people, as is the case in any country.

  8. Phil says:

    Doesn’t quite ring true their PR, as 4G (with a few exceptions if you happen to have a supported mobile) can’t be used to make a phone calls, it drops down to 3G or 2G. 4G was broken from the start in that it was never designed to handle mobile calls, they just rushed it out to sell more handsets, and it’s still largely not possible to place a call via 4G via any operator. Lets hope they do better with 5G.

    1. Jonathan says:

      Since 2017, every handset EE has sold supports VoLTE and access to 800MHz/Band 20. Before that, many did but many didn’t. Now, some SIM-free handsets will support VoLTE and VoWi-Fi on EE, but users need to check (and admittedly, many consumers don’t even know what these things are to know to look).

      The whole industry dragged its heels over 4G calling, but all of the main operators now have it in some shape or form and some MVNOs will get access soon, if they haven’t already.

      By the time 5G arrives it won’t be an issue and I think it’s fair to say that people will be using 4G for some years to come, with 5G being quite limited and – for all intents and purposes – the differences between 4G and 5G are slight. It should be totally transparent to users, unlike the switching between 3G and 4G.

    2. chrisp says:

      i’ve been making calls over 4g just fine for years on three. Not sure what your getting at, yes calls over 4g are an overlay over the transport as in VoLTE, similer in concept to VOIP but i don’t have to drop of 4g to make a call and can seamlessly roam in and out of VoWiFi too.

    3. Mike says:

      Generally to get VoLTE you’ll need to be using the operators firmware usually obtained by purchasing a device from them or flashing their firmware for your respective device.

  9. Phil says:

    Just Googled 5G and voice calls, looks like they plan to use 4G VoLTE to support voice calls (if the operator supports it which isn’t too likely) or fall back to 2G and 3G. Looks like calls on 5G are hyped in PR with things like “spherical” calls, but a future standard only as it was with 4G and the hype of HD calling. The state of these so called 4G and 5G systems for handling the very basic feature of a phonecall can be read here https://venturebeat.com/2018/02/22/early-5g-phones-will-make-lte-voice-calls-add-vr-and-spherical-calls-later/

  10. David Cox says:

    Live in ST4 3AR was told by EE last year no mobile signal due to work on mast.still no signal o month’s later .have your money and ignored the problem .Thank God for WiFi calls

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