UK operator EE is performing 125 network upgrades on temporary 4G and 5G masts to give venues some extra connectivity juice during busy events this summer.

Network congestion can happen when mobile sites are hit with a surge of people trying to connect at once – so the idea is throwing up some temporary extra masts should allow for better download speeds and more reliable coverage during big sporting and music events.

Seven additional masts have been installed around the 900-acre site at Glastonbury music festival, which kicks off this weekend. More masts will be thrown up at over the next few months at Latitude Festival, Tartan Heart Festival, Camp Bestival, Kendal Calling, Boomtown, Creamfields North, and the Reading and Leeds Festival.

Temporary masts will also be installed to at sporting venues including Silverstone, Cheltenham Racecourse, and Wembley Stadium for various big games and races, as well as Royal Ascot, Boardmasters Festival, Goodwood Festival of Speed, and Goodwood Revival.

“For many people the summer is all about spending time making memories with family and friends,” said Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer at BT Group. “By expanding our network capacity with these temporary 4G and 5G sites, we are helping enhance the live event experience for our customers. Whether they want to FaceTime their parents from the Pyramid Stage or surf their social feeds at Boardmasters, they can count on EE to make it a summer to remember.”

Throwing up extra masts is one way to ensure the crowds at Glastonbury can document their sunburned faces live on social media unimpeded by network congestion. Earlier this month EE also announced it has deployed over 600 street-level mobile small cell sites – often plonked onto existing street infrastructure, such as telephone boxes, lamp posts, and CCTV columns – in UK cities such as Birmingham, Sheffield and Brighton, designed to increase 4G capacity in busy areas.

Orange Spain earlier this year deployed a commercial 5G SA network in n Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville and dubbed the resulting service 5G+, which is designed to solve similar problems. Similarly 5G mmWave is sometimes touted as a way to provide some enhanced connectivity in busy areas as well.

All these approaches may find their place and as more deployments are tinkered with the benefits in particular scenarios will probably come into greater focus. However none of them necessarily offer additional revenue streams to operators, which is something they are all looking for right now.

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