EE boosts 4G coverage to 50% of UK population

UK mobile-phone operator EE says it has switched on its 4G network in another 13 cities and now covers half the country’s population with the superfast mobile service.

The joint venture between Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) and France Telecom (Paris, France) is racing to boost availability and take-up as its rivals prepare to launch their own 4G services.

UK mobile-phone operator EE says it has switched on its 4G network in another 13 cities and now covers half the country’s population with the superfast mobile service.

The joint venture between Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) and France Telecom (Paris, France) is racing to boost availability and take-up as its rivals prepare to launch their own 4G services.

In a press release, the company says that consumers in Bradford, Bingley, Doncaster, Dudley, Harpenden, Leicester, Lichfield, Loughborough, Luton, Reading, Shipley, St Albans and West Bromwich can now access services on its LTE network.

That means EE’s 4G offer is now available in 50 cities in total, representing one half of the UK’s population.

“With these major milestones of 50 towns and cities and 50% of the population, we’re remaining ahead of our schedule to equip UK consumers and businesses with 4G,” said Olaf Swantee, the chief executive of EE, in a statement.

“Our customers are at the heart of our rollout and we are working hard to deliver 4G to 70% of the UK population by the end of this year, and 98% of the population by the end of 2014,” he added.

EE (Hatfield, UK) is aiming to launch services in a further 30 cities by the end of June, taking full advantage of its 4G headstart.

Last year, regulatory authority Ofcom allowed EE to run LTE services over spectrum that had previously been reserved for 2G.

Competitors were forced to wait until the outcome of the 4G auction that took place earlier this year before they could begin work on their own LTE deployments.

All four of the existing mobile network operators won frequencies during that process, along with fixed-line incumbent BT (London, UK), and both Vodafone (Newbury, UK) and Telefonica O2 (Slough, UK) have already started to market 4G services.

Meanwhile, 3 UK (Maidenhead, UK), the country’s smallest but fastest-growing operator, has said it will price 4G services at the same level as 3G.