04 Jan EE to upgrade 4G in more than 160 rural locations across the East of England by 2024
EE is to upgrade 4G coverage in more than 160 rural locations across the East of England by June 2024, as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme agreed last year.
The Shared Rural Network – an agreement between the UK’s four mobile network operators and UK Government – is aiming to extend 4G coverage to 95% of the UK’s geography by 2025.
The upgrades announced are part of the first phase of the SRN programme, where EE will invest to significantly reduce ‘partial not-spots’ in mobile coverage.
EE has already upgraded its 4G network in 60 rural locations across the East of England since the SRN deal was signed in March 2020. Today, EE has pledged to extend 4G in a further 101 locations in the region, bringing the total to 161 in this phase of the programme. All sites have been made available for other operators to share under the SRN scheme.
The 101 rural locations that will get 4G upgrades between now and June 2024 are scattered across the East of England, including:
• 15 locations in Bedfordshire
• 7 locations in Cambridgeshire
• 17 locations in Essex
• 31 locations in Hertfordshire
• 14 locations in Norfolk
• 17 locations in Suffolk
Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: “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.”
UK Government 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.”
Across the UK, 853 areas have already been upgraded since the SRN deal was signed – 449 in England, 265 in Scotland, 97 in Wales, and 42 in Northern Ireland. Based on today’s announcement, EE has pledged to extend 4G in a further 1,532 locations across the UK by mid-2024 – 925 in England, 359 in Scotland, 125 in Northern Ireland, and 123 in Wales – totalling 2,385.