EE is upgrading 2,000 rural 4G sites

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EE says it will upgrade its 4G network in more than 2,000 sites by June 2024 as part of its commitment to the Shared Rural Network (SRN).

SRN is a government and industry initiative to improve rural coverage across the UK. A deal was struck last year between the government and the country’s four major operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – to build new sites and share infrastructure in areas in the country that don’t have access to all four networks.

Operators will invest £530 million to open up and share their infrastructure and pay each other a fee for access.

Shared Rural Network 4G

Meanwhile, the government promised to provide up to £500 million to build new masts in ‘total not spots’ where there is no 4G coverage from any operator. The aim is to reach 95% of the UK landmass by 2025.

EE says it has already upgraded 853 sites since the agreement was struck and will make every site included in this latest phase of the programme available to other operators so they can extend the coverage of their network.

“Today we’ve made a renewed commitment to boost rural connectivity, helping improve mobile performance regardless of location,” declared BT CEO Philip Jansen. “The investment BT has made in rural areas means we have the infrastructure in place to extend our 4G coverage footprint even further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build to ensure everyone has access to reliable connectivity. 

"EE is still the only provider of 4G coverage in many places across the UK, and we encourage other operators to recognise the opportunity sharing our sites offers to fill gaps in their networks.”

SRN commitments are subject to oversight from Ofcom, which will have the power to issue fines of up to 10% of an operator’s gross revenue if they fail to meet their targets.


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.