EE said its priority is to deliver a new UK emergency services network, hitting back at rival Vodafone UK, which this week criticised its handling of the project.
In an emailed statement to Mobile World Live (MWL), EE said its “timeframe and processes” are designed to complete the public funded project “while ensuring taxpayers’ money is not being wasted on unwanted multi-occupancy site design”.
Its comments follow an article by The Financial Times (FT) this week stating Vodafone had grown frustrated with EE for failing to provide detailed information on where the majority of its new masts in rural areas will be located and urging the government to better monitor the situation.
The network, to be used by the country’s fire, police and ambulance services, will be opened up to the country’s other operators to access, but Vodafone said EE’s lack of information delayed its own planning on whether or not to deploy its own equipment in those specific rural areas and boost coverage.
A Vodafone representative told the FT EE had revealed information on 29 sites, out of a possible 200 to 300 “it could build with taxpayers’ money”.
EE dismissed Vodafone’s argument, telling MWL: “new site information is shared with all parties as soon as we secure certainty on location and legal access”.
“We have already released details of the first sites available for sharing, but only one enquiry has been made and Vodafone is yet to request further details about any sites released for sharing.”
It continued: “We will continue to make all new sites available for sharing, while we deliver the essential coverage for emergency services workers in some of the most remote parts of Britain.”
EE won a government tender to build the UK’s emergency services network in 2015, replacing the current system run by Airwave solutions. However, the project has come under fire in recent months, following reports it could be delayed and subject to technology failures.