EE ‘will smash 14 million 4G customer target’

EE will smash its target of reaching 14 million 4G customers by the end of the year, according to an analyst, after counting 10.9 million users in its latest quarter.

The mobile operator added 1.5 million people to its mobile user base in the second quarter of 2015, after adding 1.7 million in the first three months of the year, leaving it with 6.7 million more users than it had in the same period last year.

Kester Mann, principal analyst of operators at CCS Insight, said the growth underlined EE's dominance of Europe's 4G market.

"EE remains the largest in-market European 4G operator and is clearly on track to pass its 14 million target at year-end," he said.

The mobile firm claimed its 4G network now reaches 90 per cent of the UK population, covering 600 towns and cities, while double speed 4G is available for 70 per cent of the UK.

Elsewhere, EE notched seven per cent year-on-year growth among business customers, with Abercrombie & Fitch, Lufthansa and the latest among 8,300 companies who rely on the operator.

The 4G growth helped EE record 3 billion revenue in the first half of 2015 (and 1.5 billion in the latest quarter), rising just 0.1 per cent on last year, with a 141 million profit.

CEO Olaf Swantee said: "Our established leadership in 4G and key differentiators such as Wi-Fi calling are working well for the business. We're the clear network market leader and this, combined with our strong operational performance, has led to a return to revenue growth."

The company's broadband user base added 35,000 customers, while fixed-line revenue grew 18 per cent on the same period last year.

CCS Insight's Mann said: "EE appears to be on track to surpass one million fixed broadband customers by end-2015.

"There is also evidence of progress in EE's connected strategy, which aims to bring a greater number of devices to the network.

"EE saw good growth in tablets and mobile Wi-Fi. Finally it has seen good momentum' in own-brand devices, with a number of new tablets and smartphones recently launched with the aim to bring 4G to a wider demographic."

Swantee said his focus would be on improving customer satisfaction, with Ofcom handing a 1 million fine to the firm in July for failing users.

The company is set to be swallowed by telco BT in a 12.5 billion acquisition currently being reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority.