Up, up and away for EE: balloons will boost your phone reception

Don't look up

What's that in the sky? Is it a bird? A plane? No, it's EE's new floating mobile mast. Umm, what?

It sounds bizarre, but EE has confirmed it will starting exploring what it's calling "Air Masts" to help bridge the gaps in coverage in hard-to-reach areas around the UK.

These Air Masts are essentially small cell networks floating in the sky, tethered to either balloons or unmanned crafts.

It's reminiscent of Google's Project Loon, which aims to deliver LTE connectivity via a series of internet carrying balloons.

There are no details on when we may see the Air Masts take to our skies, but we're intrigued as to how they will look, and they could be the perfect answer to those pesky signal blackspots.

98% Coverage

EE says it will have 98% of the population covered by its 4G network by the end of 2015, so the Air Masts could well be with us in the coming months.

The network had originally pledged 98% 4G coverage by the end of 2014, but an EE spokesperson told TechRadar "much changed since we made that claim, notably the announcement of the annual license fees from Ofcom."

"This affected 4G roll out investment significantly, and we announced we'd have to climb back from original ambition."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Deputy Editor

John (Twitter, Google+) got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile, churning his way through a multitude of handsets, tablets and operating systems. Signalling his arrival at TechRadar by becoming a Guinness World Record holder in his first week (for the highest score on Super Mario Bros using a giant controller), John hasn't looked back since.