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EE Reaches 14m 4G Subscribers, 95 Percent LTE Coverage

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 says it has reached its targets ahead of BT integration, but warns of regulatory squeezes

EE has cemented its position as the UK’s biggest 4G operator in terms of coverage and customers, with 14 million LTE subscribers and 95 percent population coverage.

4G subscriptions almost doubled during 2015 and the total number of connections, including those from M2M and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partners, rose by 1.8 percent to 31.5 million.

The company, which has just been bought by BT for £12.5 billion, also has 9,100 corporate customers, which it has recently targeted with a new range of connected products as it seeks to expand beyond smartphones and mobile Internet devices.

EE 4G coverage

EE 4G (6)Operating revenue reached £6 billion during 2015, a decrease of 0.6 percent year-on-year, but EE says that excluding regulatory impact, this was an increase of 1.1 percent. It said it had achieved its targets and praised “robust” SIM-only performance and a “subdued” smartphone market led to greater margins.

However it also warned of a tightening regulatory squeeze in the coming months as European Union (EU) directives reduce roaming costs, Ofcom increases spectrum licence fees, and new rules regarding mobile termination rates take hold.

EE will also start constructing the new £1 billion LTE-based Emergency Services Network (ESN), which will improve coverage, but from which it dfoesn’t expect to reap revenue gains until the second half of 2015.

Attentions will also turn to the integration of EE’s mobile infrastructure with BT’s fixed network, as the enlarged company seeks to offer hybrid services to customers.

“2015 was an exceptional year for EE, as we met and exceeded 4G targets, won multiple awards for our network performance, and improved our customer satisfaction scores,” said EE CEO Marc Allera, who replaced Olaf Swantee following the takeover. “As part of BT, we’re entering the next chapter of EE’s journey, and look forward to a phenomenal opportunity to innovate for the benefit of our customers, while continuing to build and enhance the UK’s digital infrastructure.”

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