Everything Everywhere has announced that it will spend more than £1.5bn over the next three years in upgrading existing technology to prepare itself for the rollout of 4G technology.
It expects to increase its network investment in 2012 by double digits compared to this year. Everything Everywhere CEO Olaf Swantee said: 'We believe that the UK requires a 21st century infrastructure and are committed to rolling out 4G as soon as possible to support growing data use, connect parts of the country with little or no mobile broadband, and drive economic growth.'
The operator is purchasing new equipment that can be upgraded to 4G once the network becomes available. It is also investing in its mobile backhaul network that connects individual cell sites.
Everything Everywhere said it was in the final stages of its 'big switch on', which will allow customers from Orange and T-Mobile to use 2G and 3G signals from either network. In the first half of next year it said it will improve cross-network signal sharing to allow customers of either network to select a stronger signal if theirs is weak.
Over the past 12 months, more than 22m customers have used network sharing, making 1.33bn calls, talking for more than 2.8bn minutes, sending 5.5bn texts and accessing 326bn kilobytes of data with a signal from an alternate network, the company said.
Swantee added: 'With mobile data increasing 250% over the past two years, we are making these investments so we can deliver on our ambition to provide the UK’s most reliable, biggest and best mobile data network.'
In October, Mobile revealed Swantee was planning to accelerate its 3G integration programme after Everything Everywhere's legal dispute with network infrastructure company Arqiva was settled.