By Daniel Hunter
Prime Minister David Cameron today (Friday) officially launched a partnership between EE, the UK’s largest communications company, and Tech City — the area of East London that is home to over 1,300 tech start-ups, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The partnership will see EE prioritise Tech City for all of its new network innovations, supporting East London’s Tech companies with its pioneering technology, and enabling them to better grow and compete on the global tech stage.
Over the last six months, EE has invested £3.6 million in boosting its existing network coverage in Tech City. The area was the first in the UK to get double-speed 4G when it launched in July, and is the launch pad for the company’s world-leading 300Mbps mobile network, which was officially switched on and made available to businesses today.
The Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We are competing in a global race and I am absolutely determined to make Britain the best place in the world in which to start and grow a business. The world of business is changing rapidly and one of the most promising opportunities for new jobs and growth lies within a new wave of high growth, highly innovative digital businesses. This is why, as part of our plan to help Britain succeed, we established Tech City UK to support the creation of a technology cluster in East London and committed to help these businesses to become cornerstones of our economy.
“As well as backing the businesses of today we are also backing the businesses of the future and in just three years we have seen London become a leading centre for innovation, helping to drive our economic recovery.
“But this is not just about London. We are determined to build a rebalanced economy across the country and get behind the entrepreneurs imagining a new tomorrow in the dozens of technology clusters, accelerators and start-up incubators across Britain.”
Joanna Shields, CEO of Tech City, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming EE as one of Tech City’s key partners. We have been working together over the last few months, developing a series of initiatives that will drive real benefit to small businesses in this thriving technology hub.
“Game-changing investments such as EE’s 300Mbps network will catalyse the next wave of innovation and creativity in digital, creative and technology businesses. It will allow them to connect to new markets around the world and supports the growth of our brightest and best businesses.”
Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said: “By pioneering 4G innovation in the UK, we want to help British businesses switch on and start up. That’s why we’ve partnered with Tech City to deliver superfast services to some of the UK’s brightest new companies.
“Today, we are officially switching on our 300Mbps 4G network here, and will be giving selected digital businesses exclusive access to this groundbreaking technology.
“The 300Mbps service will be commercially rolled out in 2014 and means British businesses here in Tech City — and across the UK — will be able to steal a march on their competitors in Silicon Valley, Korea and Japan.”
EE confirmed that Boxpark Shoreditch — the world’s first pop-up mall — is one of the first companies it is partnering with in order to bring its network innovations to the highstreets of Tech City. In 2014, EE will be delivering superfast 4G to Boxpark’s independent retailers and their consumers, bringing the Boxpark Marketplace experience to life on-line and in-store. They will be among the first to use EE’s 300Mbps service — creating one of the most advanced shopping experiences in the world.
As well as its commitment to prioritising Tech City first for its network innovations, EE has created a partnership that actively supports small businesses in the area. This includes:
· privileged ‘out of the box’ offers that enables a business to get connected in hours, not weeks
· a mentoring programme that utilises the expert skills within the EE business to guide small businesses through the early stages of their growth
· plans to open up the APIs of the EE 4G network so that developers can create the new products and services of the future, and get them to market faster
Throughout 2014, EE plans to launch similar partnerships to support tech communities across the UK.
Mr Swantee added: “These nationwide tech clusters have seen the emergence of like-minded, future-thinking businesses that have been built by fusing technology and creativity to become the employers and growth engines of the future — and we’re looking forward to playing a part in supporting their success.”
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