British Telecom (BT) owns EE, the biggest mobile operator in the UK with the largest LTE geographic coverage of 90%. However, EE has set itself a target to cover 95% by 2020, and this is where EE needs help from Lime. The areas not currently covered are mostly sparsely populated rural locations. These will never generate high revenues, so EE cannot justify installing expensive macro base stations, but the LimeSDR boards offer a cost effective solution to providing high-speed mobile access.
The open source solution means that BT/EE can combine SDR boards with a processor to enable mobile coverage at a fraction of the cost of a traditional solution. The small form factor and frugal power requirement simplifies where and how the hardware can be located, and the potential for over-the-air (OTA) software updates reduces the running costs.