Mobile phone service does not necessarily need huge towers, and EE, a British mobile provider, is going to prove it. The company is planning to use drones and high-flying balloons to connect rural areas of the UK. EE has filed a patent for a technology that will provide mobile phone service in remote parts of the country, especially in the case of natural disasters.
While the patent for the technology is still pending, the company has showcased the technology in a recent demonstration using ‘Helikite,’ a mini mobile site attached to a helium balloon. The Helikite provides 4G mobile service in areas where it is not available, using balloons that are inflated and launched in 50 minutes where they stay floating in the air for weeks.
The company plans to use drones to provide targeted coverage during search and rescue operations. These drones can go up to heights of 300 feet and provide service within a radius of more than half a mile. The company unveiled 32 such drones that will provide 4G connectivity under Emergency Services Network contract. The drones will be equipped with an 11-foot mast. Moreover, they will give bandwidth at 800 MHz and 1800 MHz in 4G black spots.
The company’s CEO Marc Allera said,
“Innovation is essential for us to go further than we’ve ever gone, and deliver a network that’s more reliable than ever before.”
“What if an event organizer could request a temporary EE capacity increase in a rural area or a climber going up Ben Nevis could order an EE aerial coverage solution to follow them as they climb. We need to innovate, and we need to think differently, always using customers’ needs to drive the way we create new technologies.”