EE’s 4G data traffic surpasses 3G traffic for first time ever

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UK mobile operator EE has announced it currently has more than 10 million customers using its 4G service across Europe. This is for the first time that the operator’s total 4G data traffic has surpassed 3G traffic.

EE, which was the first in the UK to launch 4G in October 2012, said 96 percent of all new contracts it sells are for 4G services and that its network now covers 87 percent of the UK population.

Announcing the achievement, Olaf Swantee, EE’s CEO, said “EE pioneered 4G in the UK and we’re determined to keep the country at the forefront of innovation. We were the first to launch 4G+, and the first to introduce WiFi Calling in the UK.

“We are bringing our 4G network coverage to where it is needed most – enhancing the quality of life of people who live in the most rural and underserved parts of the country.”

The UK mobile operator said that the increase in data has been fuelled by video and social media, which currently accounts for 51 percent of data on the network.

EE also revealed that YouTube accounts for 67 percent of overall video streaming on its 4G network, and Apple Maps is the most popular source of GPS, representing 73 percent of traffic. Outlook is the most popular email application and Soundcloud creates 44 percent of all music traffic. Health apps are also popular, with EE reporting a 63 percent rise in use since August last year owing to availability of rapid mobile internet.

Furthermore, EE anticipates that mobile data usage is going to triple in the next three years. It expects to transfer an exabyte of data during 2018, 16 times more than its 3G infrastructure handled in 2012.

“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,” Swantee added.

“People are using 4G to change how they live and work, and one of the most exciting areas to watch is healthcare, which looks set to be transformed by access to superfast 4G.”