EE 4G Traffic Overtakes 3G As Operator Reaches 10m LTE Users

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EE predicts traffic will exceed one exabyte by 2018

EE’s mobile network now handles more 4G traffic than 3G thanks to better coverage, while the company has become the first European operator to secure ten million LTE customers.

Its most recent results were published just over two weeks ago and revealed 9.3 million 4G users, with 1.7 million added during the first quarter of 2015. EE says 96 percent of all new contracts it sells are for 4G services and that its network now covers 87 percent of the UK population.

It predicts that by 2018, the EE network will carry 1 Exabyte of data per year – more than triple the current amount and 16 times the amount of 3G data used in 2013.

EE 4G rise

EE VoWi-Fi“EE pioneered 4G in the UK and we’re determined to keep the country at the forefront of innovation,” said CEO Olaf Swantee. “We were the first to launch 4G+, and the first to introduce WiFi Calling in the UK. We are bringing our 4G network coverage to where it is needed most – enhancing the quality of life of people who live in the most rural and underserved parts of the country.

“Our network advances have truly unlocked the power of the mobile internet, so much so that customer usage is doubling and we predict our 4G network, built for capacity, will comfortably handle more than an Exabyte of data per year by 2018.”

Web browsing and email remains the most popular form of web activity, accounting for 30 percent of all traffic on the EE network, ahead of video streaming, downloading and uploading on 28 percent and social media on 23 percent.

App usage

EE has also released some interesting data on which apps are most popular in certain categories. Naturally, YouTube is the most popular video streaming service with a 67 percent share, but moore surprisingly, Apple Maps accounts for 73 percent of mapping traffic – comfortably ahead of Google Maps on 21 percent.

Outlook is the most popular email application and Soundcloud creates 44 percent of all music traffic, more than Spotify’s 29 percent and Deezer just ten percent despite subscriptions included in some users’ tariffs.

Health apps are also popular, with EE reporting a 63 percent rise in use since August last year as more reliable connectivity builds confidence in customers.

“People are using 4G to change how they live and work, and one of the most exciting areas to watch is healthcare, which looks set to be transformed by access to superfast 4G,” added Swantee.

However despite being the UK’s biggest operator by subscribers, EE has struggled with customer service. Its landline and broadband services received more complaints to Ofcom than any other over the past nine months, while its mobile service received the most in two of the past three quarters.

BT shareholders have approved a £12.5bn takeover deal for EE, which could be completed next year.

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