EE, UK's fastest mobile operator, has announced new investments to expand 5G coverage to rural areas, National Parks, and rural Tourist destinations and is on its path to full UK coverage. EE also announced new technologies and ways to enhance mobile coverage and improve the energy efficiency of mobile connectivity in years to come.
EE 5G Rollout for Rural Communities
EE says its 5G Network, which already reaches major towns and covers 60% of the population, is now expanding into more rural populations.
About 500 smaller communities, including Church Stretton and Birkenshaw in England, Llandeilo and Pen-y-banc (Carmarthenshire) in Wales and Tayport and Ratho in Scotland, now have their first 5G signal from EE. This brings the total number of UK cities, towns and villages where customers can access EE 5G to over 1,000.
Also Read: EE Announces 5G Availability in 19 New Locations
National Parks and Popular Rural Tourist Destinations
As part of its 5G rollout plans, EE is also rolling out 5G to National Parks and popular rural tourist destinations. Some seasonal hotspots where EE customers can experience 5G are Berwick-upon-Tweed and Windermere in England, Brecon (Aberhonddu), Dolgellau (Gwynedd) and Narberth (Pembrokeshire) in Wales, and Fort William in Scotland. In addition, the Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast and The Broads are the first National Parks to get the 5G Technology.
This commitment to invest in rural coverage is part of the strategy to provide EE 5G coverage anywhere in the UK by 2028.
Howard Watson, Chief Security and Networks officer of BT Group, said: "The network rollout progress announced today is a critical step toward meeting our goal of enabling a 5G connection anywhere in the UK by 2028. The strength of our underlying 4G network, thanks in part to improvements made under the Shared Rural Network, has put us in the best position to make widespread 5G coverage improvements outside of big cities. Speaking as a technologist, I'm proud of the way BT Group is applying new innovations to reduce the digital divide."
Other Technological Measures to Drive Network Improvements
BT Group has revealed that it is testing with various cutting-edge technologies to enhance its networks' reach, stability, and energy efficiency. Below are the same:
UK's first 4G sent over low earth orbit satellite:
BT Group has teamed up with OneWeb to achieve the first by transmitting 4G data using a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite connection, linking an EE mast to the mobile core network, instead of relying on a conventional line of sight microwave or fibre connection. This breakthrough opens the door to connecting small, extremely remote communities, emergency responders and disaster recovery teams, and temporary setups like festivals, events, or construction sites.
Also Read: BT and SPL Trial High-Altitude 4G and 5G Tech in the UK
Mobile coverage in harder-to-reach areas:
BT Group is working with Stratospheric Platforms (SPL) to conduct a trial that endeavours to provide mobile coverage from the air using a "High Altitude Platform" (HAPS) system. The trial is taking place at BT's Global Innovation Centre (Adastral Park). This has the potential to bring connectivity to even the most remote regions.
EE is close to unveiling its inaugural self-sustaining mast that runs on sustainable energy in the Elan Valley of Wales. Initial evaluations show that local renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, can supply up to 90% of the mast's energy needs.
EE said Trials are underway to evaluate the feasibility of using biofuels such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), Biogas, and Hydrogen in grid generators to enhance overall reliability. EE plans to launch these solutions in a pilot phase, covering 20 locations.
Also Read: EE Brings 5G Connectivity to Three London Underground Stations
EE's 4G Network and Wi-Fi Hotspots
EE has also revealed that its 4G network will pass 90% of the UK's geographic landmass by the mid-2020s. In addition, EE's Wi-Fi expansion initiative, launched the previous year, provides customers access to over 150,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in rural or indoor areas. EE said it added 50 new 4G locations every month for the past three years.