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EE wants us to focus on ‘time on 4G’ as the main network metric

UK operator EE has a rich history of trying to influence the way mobile networks are judged by the state and the public and this is its latest effort.

Scott Bicheno

December 1, 2017

2 Min Read
Bad Customer experience

UK operator EE has a rich history of trying to influence the way mobile networks are judged by the state and the public and this is its latest effort.

It’s actually part of a campaign EE CEO Marc Allera has been waging for over a year, kicked-off with an unsolicited Christmas letter he sent to his competitors. In it he announced his ‘clear on coverage’ initiative that urged the industry to shift from talking about population coverage – which is already close to 100% – to geographic coverage.

Now Allera wants to shift the goalposts once more, with ‘time on 4G’ – i.e. the proportion of the time a user spends connected via 4G, as opposed to older generations – as the definitive measure of how good a network is. Presumably Allera is confident that this metric will flatter EE.

“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,” said Allera. “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.”

The EE ‘time on 4G’ metric for an EE punter with 4G calling (VoLTE) enabled on their phone in an urban area is 96%, we’re told, falling as low as 79% in some rural areas and to 70% if 4G Calling isn’t enabled. 4G can be pretty moody on the train too, as this correspondent can confirm.

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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