A little while ago UK network EE changed how it explained 4G coverage, moving away from population numbers and into geographical coverage instead.
This was key for them, as it shows how quickly their network is expanding. It also meant that they could show off new technology such as temporary masts for events, including a rather cool hot air balloon.
EE CEO Marc Allera says he now aims to improve the amount of time customers are use their 4G network instead of older technology. As an example, the average “Time on 4G” in an urban area is 96% for an EE customer with 4G Calling enabled. In some rural areas, that figure is 79%, falling to 70% for a customer that isn’t using 4G Calling.
Plus, as most of you have no doubt experienced, he’s promised to tackle the distinctly rubbish coverage on railway journeys. This is something that plagues every network, but EE are promising tens of millions of pounds for rail coverage upgrades in 2018 alone.
More details on the press release below.
EE FOCUSES ON BOOSTING TIME ON 4G IN NEXT PHASE OF ‘CLEAR ON COVERAGE’ CAMPAIGN
- EE is building on its UK leading 4G geographic coverage by focusing on increasing customers’ ‘Time on 4G’
- ‘Time on 4G’ will provide clearer information to customers based on their actual experience, as well as informing areas that need additional network investment
- Rail commuters experience less ‘Time on 4G’, showing need for trackside coverage breakthroughs
1 December 2017, London: Marc Allera, CEO of EE, today outlined the next phase of EE’s Clear on Coverage campaign, with a focus on introducing the ‘Time on 4G’ measure of customers’ network experience.
‘Time on 4G’ is a measure that shows the percentage of time a customer is connected to 4G – rather than 3G or 2G – when they’re using the EE mobile network. ‘Time on 4G’ informs and validates predictive measures such as geographic coverage percentage. The average ‘Time on 4G’ for an EE customer in an urban area, with 4G Calling enabled on their device, is 96%. In some rural areas, that figure is 79%, falling to 70% for a customer that isn’t using 4G Calling.
EE is using this measurement, at an anonymised customer level, to identify areas where additional coverage is needed, and will evolve it to provide clearer information on how customers experience mobile connectivity in the UK.
Rail commuters have lower than average ‘Time on 4G’, which is why EE will be investing tens of millions of pounds on specific rail coverage upgrades in 2018 alone. EE is also looking for Government to move quickly on the pledge it made in the Autumn Budget to improve rail coverage by incentivising mobile operators, train operating companies and rail land owners to work together to remove barriers to installing essential trackside sites.
EE is working closely with regulator Ofcom to improve the quality and accuracy of mobile network information that is provided to customers, including predictive maps and geographic coverage figures, and we will also propose that the new Time on 4G measure is considered.
Marc Allera, EE CEO, said: “Our industry has to get better at giving customers the information they need to make an informed choice about the mobile network that best suits their needs.
“I banned misleading population coverage measurements at EE a year ago, and we’ve seen real change since then. The fundamentally misleading claim of ‘99% coverage’ is very hard to find on mobile operators’ websites today.
“We are introducing new measurements today that will give us a more accurate view of our customers’ network experience than ever before. And we’re working with Ofcom to improve the quality of information that’s available to customers, as we share their ambition to improve transparency around network performance.”
Clear on Coverage – one year on
In 2016, EE launched the Clear on Coverage campaign with a promise to stop using misleading population coverage statistics. Population coverage allows operators to state ‘99% coverage’, without explaining to customers what this really means: the percentage of the population that should have coverage outside their homes, not roads, rail, shopping centres or anywhere else people need to be connected.
EE’s Clear on Coverage campaign had the following commitments and outcomes:
- Stop using population coverage measurements in isolation when communicating with customers
- All isolated population coverage metrics were removed by 1 February 2017, and training was provided to all customer advisors across our business to focus on geographic coverage
- Publish regular updates on geographic coverage and data speed by county and by major roads
- We published county level geographic coverage data for all counties on our website from July to September 2017, but took the decision to remove the data as it was potentially misleading to customers
- Work with Ofcom to provide consumer advice on the role of devices in experienced coverage
- We expect to see updates from Ofcom on this work in the near future
- Meet with Ofcom and all operator CEOs to agree next steps on how to get ‘Clear on Coverage’
- We met with Ofcom; no UK operators were willing to engage on the topic of improving communication to customers, but all have subsequently removed prominent references to population coverage