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EE in drive to improve ‘time on 4G’ for mobile users

Mobile operator EE launches another phase of its long-running Clear on Coverage campaign, with a pledge to increase network coverage using data to show how long its customers spend on 4G

BT-backed mobile network operator (MNO) EE has launched a new phase of its long-running Clear on Coverage campaign by committing to using data on the time that its users spend on 4G mobile networks as a measure of where it needs to invest in better coverage.

EE launched the Clear on Coverage campaign in November 2016 after it conducted a survey purporting to show that its users were frequently confused by the claims MNOs make about network coverage, and often had erroneous expectations of where they could expect to use 4G mobile broadband.

At the time, CEO Marc Allera urged rival MNOs to follow EE’s lead by committing to offer better information on the extent of geographic 4G network coverage.

It said the average time spent on 4G for an EE customer with 4G voice (also known as VoLTE) services enabled in an urban area was around 96%, while in rural areas that figure dropped to 79%. For those without VoLTE enabled, this dropped to 70% .

In addition to using this anonymised data to identify gaps in its geographic network coverage, EE hopes to be able to provide clearer service information to its customers.

“Our industry has to get better at giving customers the information they need to make an informed choice about the mobile network that best suits their needs,” said EE CEO Marc Allera.

“I banned misleading population coverage measurements at EE a year ago, and we’ve seen real change since then. The fundamentally misleading claim of ‘99% coverage’ is very hard to find on mobile operators’ websites today.

“We are introducing new measurements that will give us a more accurate view of our customers’ network experience than ever before. And we’re working with Ofcom to improve the quality of information that’s available to customers, as we share their ambition to improve transparency around network performance.”

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EE has already started work on one area where users experience much less time on 4G than average – the UK’s rail network – and has pledged to plough millions of pounds into upgrading coverage along railway lines during the next 12 months.

It called on the government to move quicker on the pledge it made in November’s Autumn Budget to incentivise MNOs, train operators and rail land owners to collaborate on removing barriers to installing trackside 4G infrastructure.

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