UK operator EE has expanded its 4G mobile coverage to 139 locations across Northern Ireland.

The network upgrades are part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN), a £1 billion ($1.21bn) initiative to extend 4G mobile connectivity to rural communities across the UK that often lack mobile coverage.

Northern Ireland
– Getty Images

The operator has worked with WHP Telecoms to build a new mobile mast to deliver enhanced 4G coverage across the northern part of the Mid-Ulster district and the eastern part of the Sperrins. This includes the villages of Moneyneany and Draperstown, Spelhoagh Mountain, plus large sections of the B40, A6, and Glenshane Pass.

The SRN is aimed at supporting some of the UK's most remote areas and is supported by the mobile industry and government to increase all operators’ 4G coverage to 90 percent of UK landmass and their aggregate coverage to 95 percent by 2026.

EE noted that by the conclusion of the SRN program, it will have built or upgraded 164 sites in Northern Ireland.

“The Shared Rural Network initiative has a strategically important role to play in delivering improved connectivity to businesses and more rural communities across Northern Ireland," said Suzanne Wylie, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber).

“The upgrades from EE will help businesses become better connected to their customers and suppliers, whilst also making everyday transactions like electronic payments, online marketing, and banking operate more efficiently.”

EE stated that it's upgraded more than 1,500 locations across the country so far, and is on track to meet its UK-wide target of 88 percent 4G geographic coverage by June 2024. The operator's network currently serves 88 percent of Northern Ireland and is on course to reach 89 percent by the end of 2025.