UK operator EE says it will invest £275 million ($450 million) in improving the quality and reliability of mobile calls on its 2G and 3G networks in 2014.
The funds will also be used to conduct trials of new voice technologies such as voice over LTE (VoLTE) and voice over WiFi.
The operator – a joint venture between France Telecom (Paris, France) and Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) – claims that 99.2% of calls on its network currently ‘succeed’ but it aims to reduce the dropped call rate to just 0.5% by the end of 2014 and “set new international benchmarks” in this area.
“While we consistently outperform on the standard UK benchmark for voice call quality and reliability, I don’t believe the benchmark is right,” said Olaf Swantee, EE’s (Hatfield, UK) chief executive. “I think the UK mobile industry can do better, and we intend to improve the experience for our customers, taking our quality and reliability to levels to those achieved by other operators across Europe.”
According to EE, the £275 million will go on upgrading 5,000 old 2G sites and increasing capacity at 5,500 3G sites – besides trials of VoLTE and voice over WiFi.
The operator already claims to have made a number of improvements in 2013, including upgrading 20-year-old equipment at more than 6,000 2G sites and increasing capacity at 1,600 3G sites.
It has also invested in a new home location register to increase the rate of call set-up success.
EE says that its 3G network now carries more than two thirds of all EE calls.