Mobile network EE will expand 4G in more than 500 areas in 2021 to improve UK rural connectivity as part of Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme.
The programme, spearheaded by the UK’s four mobile network operators and government, will extend coverage to 95% of the UK by the middle of this decade.
The upgrades announced this week fall under the first phase of the SRN, where EE will invest to significantly reduce ‘partial not-spots’ by 2024.
Its 4G network has been upgraded in 110 areas since the programme was signed in March 2020 to bring improved connectivity.
A further 469 upgrades will follow by the end of this year, meaning a total of 579 areas will benefit from extended 4G coverage – 333 in England, 132 in Scotland, 76 in Wales, and 38 in NI.
All sites have been made available for other operators to share under the SRN programme.
Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT Group, said reliable connectivity was important in the UK's most remote areas.
"The investment BT has made in rural areas to date means we already have the infrastructure in place needed to extend our 4G coverage footprint further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build.
"There are many places where EE is the only provider with 4G coverage today, offering the other operators an opportunity to share our existing sites to plug gaps in their networks and improve mobile performance for everyone.”
EE has also extended its 4G network to cover areas with high summer demand, including national parks, coastal locations and rural roads.