The UK's first 4G network said today it will expand to nine new areas across the UK, increasing its overall long-term evolution (LTE) coverage to 45 percent of homes and businesses within the first 90 days of launch.
In addition to the major metropolitan areas--such as London, Manchester, Liverpool, and so on--4G LTE services will today be switched on in Amersham, Bolton, Chelmsford, Hemel Hempstead, Southend-on-Sea, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, and Wolverhampton.
It's part of the firm's efforts to have 98 percent of the UK population covered by the end of 2014. So far, the company's on track, but getting the low-invested areas of rural countryside swathed with LTE coverage will be particularly costly, considering the poor rate of return for the company.
In prepared remarks, EE chief executive officer Olaf Swantee said:
To be ahead of schedule and covering approximately 45 percent of the population within just 90 days of the launch is a great achievement for our network team. We continue to bring superfast mobile to more and more people, whether they're using their devices outdoors or in their homes and offices, and to increase the speed and consistency of our 4G and 3G network across the UK.
In the meantime, the UK's telecoms regulator Ofcom opened up the spectrum-bidding process just over a week ago, but it will likely take some weeks, if not a couple of months, before the winners are announced. Rival networks hope to have their slice of the 4G LTE pie by mid August or September at the latest, by which time they aim to switch on next-generation speeds.