EE, the UK’s largest mobile operator, said LTE traffic volumes now surpassed 3G, and that it was the first operator in Europe to amass more than 10 million 4G subscribers.
Last month the company reported Q1 results that saw it add 1.7 million new 4G customers in the three-month period, targeting 14 million by end-2015. However, it is still struggling to convert that distinction into revenue growth.
Looking ahead, the operator predicted that its mobile network would need to support at least one exabyte of data per year by 2018, which is triple the amount of data the network carries today (and 16 times more than over the 3G network in 2012). This amount, said EE, was the equivalent of streaming 38,000 years of HD films.
EE unveiled the data stats in its latest ‘4GEE Mobile Living Index’ (EEMLI), published to coincide with crossing the 10 million 4G subscriber mark.
“Our network advances have truly unlocked the power of the mobile internet, so much so that customer usage is doubling and we predict our 4G network, built for capacity, will comfortably handle more than an exabyte of data per year by 2018,” claimed EE CEO Olaf Swantee (pictured).
Not surprisingly, perhaps, data growth is being fuelled by video and social media (which, said EE, now represents 51 per cent of data on the network).
New industries and sectors, looking towards mobile connectivity to better serve businesses and consumers, is another growth factor, said the operator.
Extending LTE coverage has also boosted 4G traffic volumes. Since the introduction of 4G into rural areas in Scotland, EE reported that data usage increased 60 per cent. Usage in rural Wales is up 50 per cent.
EEMLI also showed a 63 per cent rise in the use of health-related apps on the network since August last year
EE put the increase down to more reliable connectivity, so encouraging people to use their phones in new ways.
It was found that more than one in four customers use some form of mHealth monitoring, from calorie counting to tracking blood pressure, while nearly 50 per cent would happily conduct video consultations with GPs rather than visit the surgery in person.
Moreover, two in three customers said they would like the opportunity to manage their prescriptions via their mobile devices.