BT pleased with network upgrade pace as 5G coverage soars

EE 4G roads
(Image credit: EE)

BT says it is pleased with the pace of its network modernisation programme, revealing in its latest financial results that its 5G network now reaches more than 55% of the UK population, and its fibre footprint reaching eight million properties.

The company now has 7.7 million mobile customers able to access its fastest service should they have a compatible handset, while 763.000 premises were added to the Openreach full fibre network during the first quarter of 2022.

It expects to reach 3.5 million new homes and businesses during the current financial year, up from 2.6 million last year, bringing it closer to its overall target of 25 million by 2026.

EE 5G coverage

The number of active connections across all providers stands at 2.1 million and BT added 118,800 new full fibre subscriptions to its own services during the three month period

Chief executive Philip Jansen said he was pleased with the pace of its infrastructural upgrades, viewed as critical to the company’s future strategy of being a leader in converged communications services, as well as 1% increase in revenues to £5.1 billion.

“BT Group has made a good start to the year; we’re accelerating our network investments and performing well operationally,” he said. “Despite ongoing challenges in our enterprise businesses, we returned to revenue and EBITDA growth in the quarter.

We’re achieving continued high customer satisfaction scores thanks to our much-improved customer service and the value for money that our products and services represent.

“The modernisation of BT Group remains on track. We are delivering and notwithstanding the current economic uncertainty we remain confident in our outlook for this financial year.”

An obvious storm on the horizon is the first national strike by frontline staff since the company was privatised in the 1980s later this month. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) balloted nearly 40,000 Openreach engineers and BT call centre workers over industrial action after failing to reach an agreement with the company over a new pay deal that takes into account the rising cost of living.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.