BT has unveiled new plans for EE, its mobile provider, to offer 5G across the entirety of the UK by 2028, which will include 4,500 square miles of rural coverage, paired with additional road, air and space solutions to offer high speed connectivity on the go.
As well as extensive upgrades to 5G architecture, EE will also improve its Wi-Fi and fibre infrastructures to, which, according to BT, will help the company “realise the potential of the UK’s first fully converged network”.
“Over the past 18 months we’ve helped the UK to meet the demands of a pandemic,” said Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT Group. “We must now look ahead to deliver the strongest foundations to drive future growth. We’re making a uniquely ambitious, long-term commitment to drive high performance 5G further and faster, and to integrate it at the core with our fibre network for a seamless customer experience. Openreach was first to fibre, EE was first to 5G and together BT will be first to a fully converged future.”
Utilising new 700MHz 5G spectrum
According to BT, EE 5G, the first 5G service to launch in the UK two years ago, will grow to cover half of the UK population by early 2023, which will be four years ahead of the UK Government’s targets.
To achieve this, EE will utilise new 700MHz 5G spectrum, recently secured in Ofcom’s spectrum auction, which enables stronger indoor and wider rural coverage. BT has said that it will use its experience in delivering the UK’s Emergency Services Network (ESN), where portable cells can provide temporary mobile connectivity for customers when they request it, at a lower cost than building traditional cell sites.
BT also says that is will also employ greater use of air and space technologies, including 5G drones and Low Earth Orbit satellites, and last month BT signed an early agreement with OneWeb to drive the technology applications forward.
As part of this announcement, BT has also clarified that it will roll out a new 5G core network control system by 2023, which will be built upon BT’s distributed “Network Cloud” infrastructure, and will combine all digital networks, with an increased use of machine learning to predict and resolve issues before they affect customers.