22/02/2017 16:21 GMT

EE Want To Use Helium Balloons To Bring 4G To Rural Communities

Coming to a sky near you.

EE has unveiled groundbreaking plans to provide 4G services to rural communities and disaster areas using helium balloons and drones.

The pioneering ‘Helikite’ technology would be used by the UK’s largest mobile carrier in cases where permanent mobiles sites have been damaged.

This is either due to the remote location of the area, or in cases such as major flooding where local communities have been cut off from the network. 


The company has described it as “vital mobile technology of the future” and said it would be invaluable for disaster recovery and emergency services.

Although the cell-based technology, which connects back to EE’s servers via satellite, is still patent pending, they expect to deliver the first balloon before the end of 2017.  

EE CEO Marc Allera said in a statement: ““We are going to extraordinary lengths to connect communities across the UK. Innovation is essential for us to go further than we’ve ever gone, and deliver a network that’s more reliable than ever before. 

“Rural parts of the UK provide more challenges to mobile coverage than anywhere else, so we have to work harder there – developing these technologies will ultimately help our customers, even in the most hard to reach areas,” says Allera.

As well as aerial solutions, EE is also deploying a fleet of Rapid Response Vehicles, keeping the vital service live during local site outages and essential maintenance.