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By | Kat Hall 25th April 2016 10:27

EE grows network by one-third, promises to build 750 new sites

Also brings 600 call centre jobs back to UK

EE has is expanding its 4G network by one-third to cover 95 per cent of the UK by 2020 – following its mega contract with the Home Office to provide emergency services coverage across the country.

Under the plan the operator is building 750 new sites across the country in a bid to eradicate "notspots".

It is the first major investment since BT was given the green light to complete its £12.5bn acquisition of the biz by regulators earlier this year.

Last year EE was awarded a chunk of the £1.2bn Emergency Services Network, which will replace the previous £2.9bn digital radio communications supplied by Airwave.

However, there have been concerns that 4G will not be able to provide ubiquitous coverage – particularly on London's Underground.

Stephen Webb, senior responsible owner of the ESN deal, told The Register at the Police ICT Suppliers Summit earlier this year: "We will have a solution that works on the Underground. Exactly how and when don’t know yet, but we will be able to match current service."

Under the announcement today, EE said it is "on-shoring" 600 call centres workers in the UK in a bid to improve its poor customer service record.

Kester Mann, principal analyst at CCS Insight, said: "In July 2015, the company was fined £1m by Ofcom for failing to comply with rules on handling complaints. It has also consistently generated more complaints than the industry average over the past two years, according to Ofcom, although the number has been sharply receding."

Mann noted that EE had previously acknowledged the need to expand its LTE coverage to meet "the stringent requirements of this contract and was already committed to investing in more than 500 new LTE sites".

Chief exec of EE Marc Allera, who took over from former head honcho Olaf Swantee earlier this year, said the company has "an ambition to go further than any operator has ever gone, and with the ultimate aim of covering the whole UK with 4G". ®

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