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EE UK Boost 4G Mobile Coverage in Scotland with 90 New Masts

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 (9:55 am) - Score 2,045
ee mobile mast tower in scotland

Mobile operator EE (BT) has completed the construction of its 90th brand new mast site in Scotland within the last 12 months, which has helped to boost their 4G landmass (geographic) network coverage in the country to more than 75%. By comparison EE’s overall landmass coverage of the UK is 90%.

The operator now intends to build a further 200 sites in Scotland over the coming months, as well as upgrading some existing sites that currently only provide 2G. The most recent new sites to go live cover Carsphairn (Dumfries and Galloway), Loch Tarff and Gorthleck (The Highlands), Lamlash (Isle of Arran), Sandwick (Shetland Isles) and Tarland and Ballogie (Aberdeenshire).

The new sites, many of which are in areas that have previously not been covered by any operator, also form part of EE’s £1.2bn contract with the government to provide coverage for the new Emergency Services Network (ESN), which will connect 300,000 UK emergency services personnel with 4G voices and data services across Britain. Rivals including Vodafone, Three UK and O2 should also be able to make use of masts built for the ESN.

The also means that a rising number of rural areas should be able to access faster Mobile Broadband speeds.

Fergus Ewing MSP, Scotland’s Connectivity Secretary, said:

“I welcome EE’s investment in its Scottish network, which will help meet the sizeable challenge of expanding mobile coverage to rural and remote areas. This investment shows that our Mobile Action Plan is working by creating the appropriate conditions to encourage such investment. Alongside our £25 million Scottish 4G Infill programme, which is currently in procurement, these commitments will expand mobile coverage across Scotland.

Although there is still work to do in ensuring good connectivity in rural areas, we are determined to work alongside commercial investors to ensure that everyone has access to 4G coverage.”

So far as we’re aware EE still hopes to extend their landmass coverage to 95% of the UK by the end of December 2020. Key roads across Scotland will also benefit from the on-going coverage improvements, including sections of the A75, A9, A82 and A86.

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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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13 Responses
  1. Tim

    Please can we have better coverage in Kent where people actually live 😛

  2. lyndon

    What tech supplies the backhaul to these location?

    • 125us

      BT wholesale sell a mobile-market specific product called MEAS using Openreach fibre products (Ethernet Access Direct). EAD is available almost everywhere if you can afford the install fee. It’s completely separate to the broadband network.

  3. craski

    In the North East of Scotland it is very obvious that EE are investing considerably more in their network than any of the other mobile operators. I’ll be giving them a try for my next contract.

    • occasionally factual

      Make sure you pick EE and not one of their MVNO’s as the MVNO’s typically do not get the full frequency ranges available from the masts. The price premium of going with the actual network owner is usually a bigger range of services and frequncies.

    • Chris P

      @occasionally factual

      Do you have any links to back your claims up.

      I’ve never seen or heard anything to suggest that mvno’s get less service than the main mobile operator.

    • occasionally factual

      @Chris P
      Go to the Plusnet Community in the Mobile section and read all about it. Plusnet Mobile do not have the access to the full set of frequencies that EE make available.

    • Chris

      occasionally factual is correct.

      EE restricts access to LTE Band 20 (800MHz) to devices which it supports for 4G calling. This is because 800MHz can cover a larger area than their existing 2G and 3G signal, so if they didn’t do this some customers would see a 4G signal on their phone but be unable to make or receive calls.

      Currently BT Mobile is the only MVNO on EE to support 4G calling.

      So to get the best coverage from EE you currently need either an EE or BT Mobile sim, and a device they support for 4G calling (some devices require specific EE firmware). The list of supported devices is on the website.

    • Chris P

      @chris

      it looks to be a technical / contractual limitation with EE supplying 4G Voice (VoLTE) but the mvno’s get 4G data as those contracts are now in place if they asked for it.

      VoLTE doesn’t seem to have been simple or strait forward for the main mobile companies to implement anyway. Other operators restrict access to lower frequencies for devices that don’t support VoLTE either, its not just to their MVNO customers.

      https://www.techradar.com/news/exclusive-ee-mvnos-miss-out-on-800mhz-switch-on

      So there is no conspiracy of deliberately supplying mvno’s a substandard service, they get the service they contracted for on their customers devices that support it.

      There are mvno’s on three that support VoLTE and WiFi calling

      https://www.4g.co.uk/news/ee-o2-three-and-vodafone-which-networks-offer-wi-fi-calling/

    • Chris

      @Chris P

      Yes, most likely a technical issue not a contractual one or a conspiracy. No-one claimed otherwise.

      However if remote coverage is important, the advice for anyone joining EE to avoid most MVNO’s because they can’t access the full set of frequencies is currently valid. It’s equally important to get a handset that is supported for 4G calling.

    • occasionally factual

      @Chris P
      Where did this conspiracy come from?
      I was just pointing out, rightly, that you cannot assume that a MVMO will provide as good as service as the network owner.
      Of course it is contractual.
      Plusnet are a cheapskate provider and are the bargain basement brand of the BT Group. BT has 2 premium mobile brands and wouldn’t want Plusnet to compete against them. So Plusnet Mobile has a contractually less advancd service than BT Mobile or EE.

    • Kenneth TAYLOR

      Yup. Vast improvement. We now have high speed mobile broadband in Ballogie. Who would have thought it.

      One thing to watch is, the 4GEE supplied routers do not work on the spectrum 20, despite EE’s insistence that they in fact do. They don’t. Full Stop

      The solution is to purchase a cheap slave handset to push the wifi signal out as a hotspot. ie http://amzn.eu/eG5Fz30 works very well

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