EE claims to be at a “tipping point” where sales of its 4G contracts have overtaken those of 3G.
At a press conference in central London the company also announced the completion of its second phase of a 4G rural rollout, bringing superfast mobile internet to nearly 2,600 villages and small towns across the UK.
Having launched at the end of 2012, EE now has 3.6 million 4G customers, and sales outstripped those of 3G contracts for the first time this month. Customers have increased their data usage by 66% over the previous year, as they watch more television and video on the move than ever before.
Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said: “With more experience of 4G than any other UK operator, we have unique insight into how the technology is changing behaviour. Our mobile devices have effectively become mini TVs with video traffic already making up over half the data on our 4G network."
To improve television viewing over a 4G connection, EE has founded the Mobile Video Alliance, which will work with networks and all major TV broadcasters to improve the quality and reliability of television streaming to mobile devices. This will see a future with less iPlayer buffering, and a smoother Sky Go experience.
Demand for mobile TV and video is expected to surge in the coming years, as EE predicts a 1,100% gain in TV-watching on mobile devices over the next four year, and will account for two-thirds of all data on EE’s network by 2018.
4G in the fast lane
As well as improving coverage in the UK’s towns, cities and even villages of just 65 inhabitants, EE has also pledged to improve its service along the UK’s major roads.
The network’s 4G service is now available in 47 major train stations and 22 of Britain’s busiest airports. Meanwhile, more than half of the 50 busiest motorways and A-roads are covered in EE’s 4G service. Coverage on the M25 and M62 is greater than 80%, the network said.