EE takes 4G to 10 new towns, doubles LTE subscriptions

Mobile operator EE is continuing to extend its 4G coverage and customer numbers in the UK, but there's still only a tiny proportion of UK mobile users signed up to LTE.

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EE is rolling out its 4G LTE network to 10 new towns and cities across the UK.

The network, which went live last October , now covers 95 towns and cities, including the 10 that went live today: Altrincham, Bedford, Camberley, Crawley, Farnborough, Farnham, Maidstone, Rochdale, Tonbridge, and Welwyn Garden City.

Fifteen of those cities (Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, and Southampton) get what EE calls 'double-speed' 4G — an average download speed of 24Mbps to 30Mbps, and a theoretical maximum of 60Mbps.

Around 60 percent of the UK population is now covered by EE's LTE, a figure that the operator says will rise to 98 percent by the end of next year.

There are now 687,000 4G users on EE, according to the company, which released its second-quarter financial results on Wednesday. That's more than double the number a quarter ago, when EE had signed up 318,000 LTE users.

However, 4G users still account for a tiny percentage of EE's total customer base: roughly 2.5 percent of its 27 million customers are on LTE. EE said it hopes to have one million users on 4G by the end of next year.

Although EE has come in for some criticism over the cost of 4G subscriptions , it seems premium pricing for LTE services is making some difference to the operator's bottom line: users switching to 4G spent on average 10 percent more a month than their non-4G counterparts.

However, upgrading the network hasn't come cheap: EE's capital expenditure for the first half of the year hit £295m — up 20 percent year on year — thanks to its 4G expansion programme.