EE spends $29M on Avanti satellite capacity as part of 4G coverage push

EE took another step towards meeting recently announced LTE network coverage goals by contracting satellite network operator Avanti Communications Group (Avanti) to provide cellular backhaul services in the UK.

Avanti said it will provide capacity on its HYLAS 1 and 2 satellites to EE, which plans to use the satellite connectivity to provide additional resilience for its LTE mobile network in addition to boosting its coverage in remote areas of the country.

The satellite operator, which provides data communication services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said that EE agreed a multi-year deal for satellite capacity, and that the initial phase of that agreement is worth $29 million (€25.4 million). EE also has options to double the satellite capacity available, Avanti stated.

Mansoor Hanif, director of radio access networks at EE, said Avanti "will play a key part in providing the resilience" and increased coverage the operator is seeking to provide through its 4G network.

The deal with Avanti comes a fortnight after EE revealed plans to cover 95 per cent of the UK's landmass with its 4G network by 2020 compared to the current 60 per cent landmass coverage. BT, which acquired EE in January, last week fleshed out the detail of that coverage expansion when it announced it will pump a total of £6 billion (€7.6 billion/$8.6 billion) into extending the coverage of its fibre and 4G networks.

EE's deal with Avanti will complement its plan to construct 750 new mobile sites as part of its landmass coverage commitment.

Avanti CEO David Williams said the HYLAS satellites offer levels of network quality and flexibility that go "beyond the levels that have been previously available via satellite." The EE contract "demonstrates those qualities and affirms our ability to deliver at the highest level," he added.

The satellite company has invested $1.2 billion in constructing a network of satellites, ground stations, data centres and a fibre ring. Avanti said it has perpetual rights to orbital slots and Ka-band spectrum that covers a potential market of 1.7 billion people in EMEA territories.

For more:
- see this Avanti announcement

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