EE have been in the news lately for their poor customer service. Today, they are back making (good) news, that of expansion and more UK customer service staff. The company is looking to clear away mobile black spots by extending its coverage across the UK’s soil or, in literal terms, extending itself over the country’s ‘landmass’. They are looking to increase their LTE and LTE advanced network (4G and double speed 4G in the UK) coverage from about 60% to a massive 95% by 2020.
This increase in coverage in turn accounts to reaching about 99.8% from around 95% of the population currently covered by the network. All this makes good reading, but a lot more difficult to achieve in reality as this will require EE to build hundreds more towers, some in areas where planning and costs becomes incredibly difficult.
Procuring the land for these masts, especially in the rural areas, present its own problems and expenses. EE is hoping that the government would lend a helping hand through some policy changes and some financial incentives.
Marc Allera, EE’s CEO, said:
For the average smartphone user, not-spots aren’t tolerated and 2G doesn’t deliver what they need. Customers want 4G speeds everywhere they go, and mobile operators are too used to saying ‘no’ to new coverage. Today, I’m saying ‘yes’, with an ambition to go further than any operator has ever gone, and with the ultimate aim of covering the whole UK with 4G.
Other operators aren’t staying behind, having promised a few billions worth of investment to expand coverag, but not on the scale that EE are promising to do. For an all-network wide expansion ‘party’, the government will need to look at a few things to make life easier for operators. With new tech like 5G peeping over the horizon, it’s too be seen just how far and wide the expansion story can go.
Any thoughts on coverage from you folks out there, especially those at the rural outposts!!
In other news, 600 jobs are to be created in the UK as EE commits tov having ALL customer service calls handled in UK and Ireland by end of the year.
EE LAUNCHES NEW STRATEGY TO ONSHORE 100% OF SERVICE CALLS AND EXPAND 4G COVERAGE TO 95% OF UK
· 100% of customer service calls to be handled in UK and Ireland by end of the year, supporting commitment to provide the best customer service for a mobile operator in the UK
· 600 new roles created across UK and Ireland, including roles in Plymouth, South Wales and North Tyneside
· Major boost to rural UK, with an ambition to grow 4G coverage from 60% of UK landmass to 95% – further than any mobile operator has ever gone, and significantly beyond the furthest reaches of any 2G or 3G signal today
· New 4G coverage plan focussed on eradicating “notspots”, with ambition to cover customers wherever they go by 2020
· 4G coverage switched on in Shetland and the Isles of Scilly, with support from the BT Group, signalling EE’s commitment to connect the furthest edges of the UK
25th April, 2016 – EE, the UK’s biggest mobile operator and part of the BT Group, has announced a major boost to customer service with the on-shoring of 600 customer service roles, meaning all EE customer calls are answered here in the UK and Ireland by the end of the year.
The boost is part of CEO Marc Allera’s new plans to drive improvements to the EE customer experience with more UK customer service roles, while growing 4G coverage with the aspiration of taking 4G to the very edges of the UK.
The investment in coverage will focus on filling in outdoor ‘notspots’ in current 4G areas, and expanding 4G coverage from a UK-leading position of 60% landmass today towards an objective of 95% by 2020 – further than any mobile network has ever gone. EE is challenging the mobile industry to measure vital coverage metrics by UK geography, rather than the outdated population score used today.
EE CEO Marc Allera said:
“For the average smartphone user, not-spots aren’t tolerated and 2G doesn’t deliver what they need. Customers want 4G speeds everywhere they go, and mobile operators are too used to saying ‘no’ to new coverage. Today, I’m saying ‘yes’, with an ambition to go further than any operator has ever gone, and with the ultimate aim of covering the whole UK with 4G.
“We’re bringing 100% of our EE customer service calls back to the UK and Ireland. We’ve already seen a major boost in customer satisfaction by creating 1,400 new service jobs here since 2014. Now we’re creating 600 additional jobs to handle all EE customer service calls in the UK and Ireland by the end of this year, providing the best possible experience for our customers.”
Number 1 for Customer Experience
The onshoring of customer service roles will create 600 new jobs in the UK and Ireland.
More than 100 roles will be created in Merthyr, North Tyneside, Plymouth and Ireland by the end of June 2016, when all EE Pay Monthly customer calls will be handled onshore. The locations of the remaining 500 jobs, providing service for EE Pay as You Go and Home customers, will be announced throughout the second half of 2016.
EE has already boosted customer satisfaction and cut complaints by 50% through an onshoring programme that’s seen more than 1,400 jobs created in the UK and Ireland since 2014. The investment in a further 600 UK and Ireland service roles will provide the best possible service for EE customers, and supports EE’s commitment to becoming number one mobile operator for customer service in the UK.
Keeping Customers Connected
As part of EE’s commitment to delivering the best 4G coverage in the most remote parts of the UK, superfast 4G mobile was switched on today in Shetland and the Isles of Scilly – almost 1,000 miles apart, at opposite ends of the UK – enabled by the fibre broadband links that BT has deployed.
To achieve the ambitious UK-wide 4G coverage objective, more than 750 new sites will be built. Today, EE’s 4G coverage reaches around 60% of UK geography, equal to approximately 95% of the population. Providing 4G coverage to 95% of the UK geography, would ensure ‘near-complete’ 4G coverage for the UK’s population (99.8%). This is further than existing 2G and 3G coverage from any provider.
At launch, 4G was used only for data connections, with customers moving to 3G while on a call. Now, EE is rolling out 4G Calling (VoLTE) across the UK to enable both voice and data over 4G. This will ensure customers get superfast 4G data speeds while on calls and that customers can make calls in new areas of the network that are 4G-only. 4G Calling is already live in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Leeds and Newcastle, and will be switched on across the rest of the network by July.
Policy reform will be necessary to building and maintaining such a widespread mobile network. This includes: ensuring that proposed changes to the Electronic Communications Code support operators’ coverage ambitions; that all parts of the UK build on the recent positive announcements on planning changes for England; and that industry, Government and Ofcom work together to improve network operators’ financial incentives to invest. EE will continue to consult Government and Ofcom on these issues.