EE, the largest mobile operator in the UK, said it will splash out £275 million on boosting the quality and reliability of mobile voice calls during 2014.
The aim, said the operator, is a dropped call rate of 0.5 per cent by the end of 2014 and to meet international benchmarks.
“While we consistently outperform on the standard UK benchmark for voice call quality and reliability, I don’t believe the benchmark is right,” said Olaf Swantee, EE’s CEO.
“I think the UK mobile industry can do better, and we intend to improve the experience for our customers, taking our quality and reliability to levels to those achieved by other operators across Europe,” he continued.
Swantee added that EE had already reached its highest-ever call success rate (99.2 per cent) and carries more than one billion calls every week.
The work scheduled for 2014 includes upgrading more than 5,000 2G sites; increasing capacity on 5,500 sites on the 3G network (which now carries more than two thirds of all EE calls); and trialling future call services, including VoLTE and voice over Wi-Fi.
EE said it had already upgraded 20-year-old 2G equipment on over 6,000 sites “with the latest technology” to reduce dropped calls by 50 per cent, while increasing the capacity on 1,600 3G sites to support 50 per cent more calls.
The operator has also installed a new HLR (home location register) database aimed at increasing call set-up success.
EE said the volume of calls on its network has increased 25 per cent since the beginning of 2012.