EE UK 4G coverage hits 87%, but revenues decline

EE expands the reach and customer base of its 4G mobile network, but reports a 1.1% contraction in revenue in its first-quarter financial results

Mobile network operator (MNO) EE now reaches 87% of the UK’s population with 4G mobile network services after adding 1.7m customers to its 4G network in the three months to the end of March 2015.

However, it was unable to translate customer growth into topline growth, with operating revenues down 1.1% year-on-year to £1.47bn.

The operator now boasts a customer base of 9.3m, more than treble the figure for the year before and the highest in Europe. It said 96% of new connections were now on 4G, and 50% on its LTE-Advanced 4GEE Extra service.

It also claimed it now had the fastest growing broadband service in the UK, adding 50,000 new customers in the quarter, driven by more effective cross-selling and early success on its EETV service.

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“As much of the UK market now has smartphones, we are leading the charge into new growth areas by cross-selling our innovative range of connected products including 4G tablets, 4G Wi-Fi, fixed broadband and EETV to our existing customers,” said CFO Neal Milsom.

On the business side, EE now has 7,700 medium and large companies taking its 4G products, including minicab firm Uber, clothing chain Gant UK and, on the public sector side, Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies.

It also announced a £1.5bn network investment plan during the quarter, through which it means to take 4G to 99% of the UK population and 90% of its geography in the next two years, and roll out more advanced mobile networking technology such as 4G over 800MHz, voice-over-4G, micro-networks and a voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoWLAN) service.

Progress slow on BT takeover

In its statement, EE made no reference to its impending takeover by BT, which is currently the subject of a probe by the Competition and Markets Authority.

However, speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, CEO Olaf Swantee said the £12.5bn acquisition may not close until the end of 2015.

In the interview, Swantee said it was not yet clear whether or not the EE brand would disappear from the market following the acquisition.

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