EE to use drones for 4G coverage

Improvements in EE’s mobile network will mean its 4G network will operate at double speed for 90pc of the UK population by 2017, and will be available at standard speed to more than 99pc of people, the company claims. The move will see the network’s 4G footprint overtake that of its older 2G service, and will particularly target rural improvements as it bids to grow beyond 7.7m customers. The company, which is being bought by BT, will also use tethered balloons and drones to reach particularly hard to reach areas, echoing temporary technology used at events such as Glastonbury.

EE’s chief executive Olaf Swantee said the expansion marked a new phase in EE’s network plans.

EE’s new infrastructure uses small base stations that are independent of fixed broadband and do not need roads to be dug up prior to installation. The company claimed deploying the technology would make phone calls and mobile data available in 1,500 communities that are not currently connected by either reliable mobile or high speed broadband. It also claimed it will be able to offer mobile voice coverage on more than 90pc of the UK’s 245,000 miles of roads by 2017, up from current coverage of around 82pc.

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