EE has promised to make 4G services available to 99 percent of the population by 2017, as part of a £1.5bn network investment programme.
Part of the investment will also be used to bring double-speed services of up to 60Mbps to 90 percent of the population by 2017. EE's 4G+ service, offering speeds of up to 150Mbps, will go live in 20 UK cities by the same date.
The firm also promised to make its Voice over LTE services available, which were shown off in trials last year.
The impressive speed and coverage boasts come just weeks after mobile operators signed a deal with the government to bring 90 percent 2G voice coverage by 2017 and ensure basic connectivity for the majority of the UK.
EE chief executive Olaf Swantee said that the funding commitment represented the second stage of the firm’s investment in its network across the UK, having already ploughed millions into a 4G rollout in 2011.
“Stage one of our network strategy saw us overhaul UK mobile networks, launching 4G and changing the way people and businesses use their smart devices,” he said.
“Today we’re announcing the next stage with a commitment to once again radically improve mobile coverage, this time with a strong focus on rural UK, all while continuing to increase speeds and capacity with deeper coverage in more cities."
EE’s principal network architect, Professor Andy Sutton, looked even further to the future, saying that the firm is committed to the development of 5G services.
“We’ve invested in 4G and taken the UK back to a position of leadership in mobile, and now we’re investing in 5G so that we can define the next step and keep us and the UK mobile industry one step ahead,” he said.
“Working closely with academic institutions such as the 5GIC at the University of Surrey ... we will continue to change the way people think of what’s possible with mobile.”
Despite this, EE appears intent on sticking to its own strategy while it remains independent, and no doubt the executives at BT will welcome the firm's efforts to broaden its network reach and enhance its value, using its own finances.
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