4GEE, the U.K.’s first and still it’s only 4G/LTE network just got a little larger. Carrier EE has switched on 4G services in nine more towns, bringing the total number of towns and cities connected to the service to 27 in the 90 days since it launched the network.
The network now reaches around 45 per cent of the U.K. population, according to EE — which says the rollout is ahead of schedule. The carrier is aiming to cover 98 per cent of the population by 2014.
The nine latest towns to get EE’s 4G services are situated around the U.K.. They are: Amersham, Bolton, Chelmsford, Hemel Hempstead, Southend-on-Sea, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton.
In addition to bringing new locations on stream, EE said it is continuing to beef up the network density of 4G in areas where it has already switched the service on. ”As a result, users will find they have increasingly consistent, superfast access to 4G wherever they travel, and during their commutes to work,” it said in a release announcing the latest stage of the rollout.
It’s unclear how many customers EE has signed up to the U.K.’s first 4G network so far — the carrier has repeatedly declined to break this figure out. A company spokeswoman told TechCrunch: “We don’t have specific figures to share at the moment.” Earlier this month EE announced a promotional discount in a bid to sign up new users — perhaps indicating that signs ups have not been as plentiful as it would like. It also launched a new 20GB monthly data tariff for ‘super users’.
Rival U.K. carriers O2, Vodafone and Three are currently in the midst of bidding for the spectrum they need to build their own 4G networks. Bidding on the spectrum got underway on January 23 and is expected to take “weeks” before winners are determined. U.K. telecoms regulator Ofcom expects services using the new spectrum will be launched by a range of providers from late spring/summer 2013.