Residents and businesses connected to the EE mobile network in an area around the small rural village and parish of Leaveland in Kent, England, have complained after the operator’s local mast failure left them without a working 4G connection, as well as a poor signal in other areas (via other stems), two weeks and counting.
The situation seems to have started around the beginning of November, and for the past few weeks EE’s local network status checker has been saying that there are actually “service problem” in the area, although committed to deliver “good service within 16 hours, but some repairs take a little longer. Unfortunately, this message has remained the same throughout.
The mast itself is shared with Three UK as part of their network sharing joint venture with EE (MBNL – Mobile Broadband Network Limited), and Three’s reviewer also notes that theysolution to the problem” field: “We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. Our engineers are working on nearby masts, meaning the rest of our network is experiencing higher than normal traffic.
The stem in question (eNB ID 29293 51°15’32.13″N, 0°52’9.83″E) appears to be on the edge of a field on private property. According to locals, the Estate and EE were in discussion. Engineers are said to have attended last week, but because they didn’t inform the estate, they found the gate locked – it’s just a farm gate.
Tim Higgs, Local Broadband in Kent (B4RK), said:
“Really frustrating after providing a business customer with super fast fixed access LTE broadband using the only mast we could get a signal from, then no service for nearly 2 weeks and EE can’t seem to reach the mast.”
Disappointingly, the only available 4G network is three, they are also on the same mast and also down. I have ordered a Starlink meal for a business customer of mine who is affected by this outage, but the estimated delivery date is 21-27 November. But I’m starting to think Starlink will be delivered before EE gets the mast fixed.
We have raised the issue with EE but surprisingly they have had no comment other than to confirm that it is a Cellnex site and their team was still trying to arrange access through the owner’s representative. We suspect that the existing section of road would probably have allowed them to climb over a normal farm gate to gain access.
But in this country, it’s always safest and most polite to secure access first, lest the engineer be chased away by a rifle-wielding farmer who might otherwise think he’s doing something wrong (unfortunately, criminals often attack farms and don’t pretend to be engineers). But in the meantime, local homes and businesses continue to suffer.