EE: Businesses Are Driving Our 4G Network, Not Consumers

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EE CEO Olaf Swantee details vision of perfect network that combines 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi and says BT ‘project’ will accelerate convergence

EE CEO Olaf Swantee says the demands of businesses, not consumers, are driving the future direction of its network and claims BT’s proposed acquisition of the mobile operator will strengthen its goal of delivering a “defect free” service.

“Our network is every day getting better and better,” Swantee said at a launch event in Lonfon, adding that EE was adding more sites and capacity on a constant basis. “We want to continue leading with our network and we’re not going to slow down.

Hybrid networks

EE 4G (7)“Our ambition is to create a defect free network in the years to come, so customers will have seamless access to 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi without switching devices. We have the assets and skills to make that happen.”

Swantee said this diversity of network technology would allow firms to take advantage of developments like the Internet of Things (IoT) and would support future business applications that require low latency.

He added that the “BT project” would help accelerate this convergence of fixed and wireless connectivity. Indeed, one of the reasons BT wants to buy EE for £12.5bn is so it can create hybrid networks offering ubiquitous connectivity– a vision discussed by BT CEO Gavin Patterson at Broadband World Forum last week.

Future business applications

EE says low latency, high capacity networks will be just as important as speed for businesses – especially for IoT and ahead of the launch of 5G – and the first half of 2016, EE will begin testing 1Gbps throughput on its LTE network.

“This will deliver incredible speeds,” he said, suggesting it could support virtual reality for consumers, “but fundamentally, this technology is for delivering future business applications.

“We already have more than 500,000 business customers today and that is growing every quarter.

“4G is moving beyond being good technology to being technology for good,” said Swantee. “And that’s why you’ll find EE is so passionate about building network infrastructure.”

‘Seismic shift’

To illustrate its claims, EE says 40 percent of businesses think they will be mobile-centric by 2020 and CIOs are recognising their IT strategies are now mobile strategies.

“Three years ago when we launched a 4G network we were adamant businesses would lead the way,” added EE’s chief marketing officer for non-consumer mobile Gerry McQuade. “The way businesses have responded has been absolutely phenomenal.

“Fifty percent of businesses believe 4G is critical for their competitiveness,” he added.“40 percent of businesses believe by 2020 that connected devices and machines will be as or more important than connecting their staff.

“That’s a seismic shift in how they operate their businesses.”

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