UK mobile network operator (MNO) EE, a subsidiary of BT Group, has announced plans to expand 4G coverage in more than 2,000 areas by June 2024 as part of the ‘Shared Rural Network’ (‘SRN’) initiative. In a press release regarding the matter, the cellco noted that it has already carried out 4G upgrades in a total of 853 areas across the UK since the SRN deal was signed in March 2020, at locations spread across England (449 areas), Scotland (265), Wales (97) and Northern Ireland (42). Now, the company has pledged to extend 4G in a further 1,532 areas by mid-2024 – 925 in England, 359 in Scotland, 125 in Northern Ireland, and 123 in Wales – totalling 2,385 in this phase of the programme. Meanwhile, EE notes that all sites have been made available for other MNOs to share under the SRN scheme.
Commenting, BT Group CEO Philip Jansen said: ‘Today we’ve made a renewed commitment to boost rural connectivity, helping improve mobile performance regardless of location. The investment BT has made in rural areas means we have the infrastructure in place to extend our 4G coverage footprint even further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build to ensure everyone has access to reliable connectivity. EE is still the only provider of 4G coverage in many places across the UK, and we encourage other operators to recognise the opportunity sharing our sites offers to fill gaps in their networks.’