EE has announced its plans to expand its 4G network to aid commuters, and will be recruit more than 1,000 new customer-service staff over the next 24 months.
Eighteen of the UK’s airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol are now covered by EE’s 4G network. While train routes from Brighton to Glasgow will be served by 4G in the coming year.
The first stage will be upgrading the London Euston to Birmingham New Street route, with Manchester to Liverpool, London Victoria to Brighton following.
The operator is also planning to enhance phone-call quality for train commuters on the main routes by the end of the year, as well as the UK’s busiest roads.
Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, said: “Our network investment in 2014 is not just about giving people faster mobile data – phone calls are still an incredibly important part of the mobile experience, and we’re investing to ensure people travelling all over the UK can make phone calls in more places and with better quality than ever before.”
EE also plans to build a 4G network for passengers travelling to France on the Eurotunnel, set to be complete by late summer.
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The network operator has also announced more cities, which have been “switched on” to 4G, raising its total to 174 towns and cities across the UK. The most recent 14 places include Belper, Cannock, Ellesmere Port, Grangemouth, Harrogate, Hartlepool, Keighley, Motherwell, Paignton, Richmond (North Yorkshire), Skelmersdale, Torquay and Widnes.
The mobile operator launched its 4G network back in August – the same day as rival O2, but almost a year behind first-to-the-market EE. In that time, it has, or is in the process of rolling out, the speedier connections in 208 cities and towns across the UK, and now claims to cover 36% of the population.
EE has also announced plans to create more than 1,000 new jobs by bringing back customer service roles from overseas service centres.
The prime minister, David Cameron, said: “It’s great news that EE is bringing more than 1,000 jobs back to the UK. As part of our long-term economic plan, I believe we can become the world’s leading re-shoring nation and provide new opportunities for hard working people.”
EE will also increase the size of its apprenticeship scheme to 1,300 by the end of 2015. The apprenticeship scheme, which was first announced in March 2013, has seen EE hire 80% of the 460 apprentices who have completed the programme. EE plans to continue to offer full-time positions to the majority of the 1,300 apprentices.