British mobile network operator (MNO) EE, part of BT Group, has announced the signing of an agreement with Finnish vendor Nokia to build what it called ‘an industry-first’ nationwide 4G LTE Air-to-Ground network for the emergency services across the UK.
In a press release EE said that the new 4G network will enable uninterrupted high speed broadband coverage for emergency service personnel working above ground from 500 feet up to 10,000 feet. As part of the agreement, EE and Nokia will enable mission-critical network coverage for emergency services in what it said would be the world’s first use case utilising commercial 4G LTE broadband services in its field. Under the agreement EE will provide the active network equipment for a full reference facility, and an initial seven site trial network. Following the trial, EE will then deploy the network equipment in over 80 ‘Home Office acquired cell sites’ across the country. For its part, Nokia will provide design support, network equipment, installation and commissioning services to ensure timely delivery of the Emergency Services Network (ESN) 4G LTE Air-to-Ground network. The first trial of the network is scheduled to take place ‘over the coming months’ in North Wales and London.
Commenting, Richard Harrap, Managing Director ESN at EE, said: ‘We’re thrilled to partner with Nokia to build a first-in-class and groundbreaking 4G Air-to-Ground network for emergency services across the UK. Our deployment of this reinforces our network leadership as the UK’s biggest and fastest mobile network, and harnesses Nokia’s deep expertise in network equipment and installation of an Air-to-Ground solution.’