EE will upgrade 4G in more than 2,000 areas by June 2024 as part of the Shared Rural Network initiative to extend coverage in rural areas across the UK.
SRN is a programme between the UK’s four mobile network operators and Government to extend 4G coverage to 95% of the UK’s geography by the middle of this decade. The upgrades announced today fall under the first phase of the Shared Rural Network, where EE will invest to significantly reduce ‘partial not-spots’.
EE has upgraded its 4G network in more than 800 areas across the UK since the SRN deal was signed in March 2020. Today, EE has pledged to extend 4G in a further 1532 by mid-2024 – 925 in England, 359 in Scotland, 125 in Northern Ireland, and 123 in Wales – totalling 2,385 in this phase of the programme. All sites have been made available for other operators to share under the SRN scheme.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “We know the incredible impact better connectivity will have on countryside communities. That’s why we struck a £1 billion deal, jointly funded by the government and mobile firms, to bring fast and reliable 4G mobile coverage to 95 per cent of the UK.
“EE’s plans show good progress and will increase choice for consumers and boost productivity in rural areas. We will continue to work closely with them to close down further gaps in rural mobile signal.”
Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: “Today we’ve made a renewed commitment to boost rural connectivity, helping improve mobile performance regardless of location. The investment BT has made in rural areas means we have the infrastructure in place to extend our 4G coverage footprint even further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build to ensure everyone has access to reliable connectivity. EE is still the only provider of 4G coverage in many places across the UK, and we encourage other operators to recognise the opportunity sharing our sites offers to fill gaps in their networks.”