EE, the UK’s largest mobile operator, added 5.7 million customers to its 4G network in 2014, 1.7 million of whom joined in the last two months, and now has a total of 7.7 million 4G customers.
“This beats the 6 million year-end target, and means EE has added more 4G customers than any other operator in Europe,” the company said in a statement.
Six times more 4G data was uploaded and downloaded by customers in 2014 than in 2013 with traffic being driven by customers sharing photographs and videos on social media and streaming video from the likes of BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Sky Go, the statement added.
With an increasing focus on more rural areas, EE also added more than 1,000 villages and small towns in the last few months of 2014.
Back in August, EE had claimed its 4G service was available to three-quarters of the country’s population. Now the operator says it has 80 per cent population coverage with a target of 98 per cent by end-2015.
EE said it continued to drive record network expansion across the year, and introduced more accessible 4GEE plans, including the launch of £1 pay as you go packs, and introduce high-spec but low-cost 4G devices such as the EE Kestrel.
EE has also said it will be introducing 4G+ in London and the UK’s busiest areas this year to support more users and maintain industry leading 4G speeds.
BT is currently engaged in talks to acquire EE from its owners, Deutsche Telekom and Orange.
In October, EE said it had added another 1.4 million 4G subscribers during Q3 – taking the total up to 5.6 million, but this wasn’t enough to prevent an overall drop in operating revenue.
It blamed the impact of regulation as one factor in explaining the 1.2 per cent fall in Q3 operating revenue, year-on-year, to £1.52 million.