A lot of new installations are all about 5G. But in the case of EE in Glasgow’s subway stations, it’s about 4G.
EE, which is part of BT Group, has installed and activated the Emergency Services Network (ESN) to connect 15 subway stations. The subway, at over 120 years old, it’s one of the oldest railways in the world.
Emergency responders aren’t yet using the ESN; that will happen sometime in the future, but for now, commuters can use the 4G network when they’re on their daily commutes. Currently, the system is for EE subscribers, but a company spokesperson told IT Pro that it is open to working with other operators to include their networks.
Coverage for COP26
The work in the subway stations was completed in time for the United Nations COP26 global climate change conference that started on Sunday. Thousands of people are expected to be using the subway to move between venues during the event, which runs through November 12.
It marks a big change for Glasgow subway passengers who could previously only call from their phones and use Wi-Fi for data in stations as part of an old system introduced in 2008, which was switched off after it became unreliable, according to The Scotsman.
First responders will be transitioning to ESN, with activation planned in the coming months. According to EE, the ESN network will remain protected from the public 4G network, and communication between the emergency services will take priority over all other network traffic – even at peak times.
Besides expanding 4G into the Glasgow subway stations, EE has extended coverage across Scotland, especially in rural areas.
More 5G indoors
Separately, EE, which was the first to launch 5G in the U.K., announced the next phase of its 5G rollout, switching on indoor 5G at more than 50 sites across the U.K. For the deployment, EE is using new 700 MHz spectrum acquired in Ofcom’s auction earlier this year.
EE said it has seen more than a seven-fold increase in people using its 5G network in the last 12 months. As part of its ongoing network investment, EE has pledged to extend its 5G network to reach half of the U.K.’s population by 2023 and offer 5G anywhere in the U.K. by 2028 through its macro network and “on demand” connectivity solutions.
EE recently took the top spot in RootMetrics Everyday 5G rating, a combination of widespread availability plus strong performances for speed and reliability, and claims 5G coverage in more places than its rivals.