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Large balloons for providing mobile phone service in rural areas

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Mobile communication services doesn’t necessarily need giant towers, and British mobile provider, EE is going to make it reality. 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 communication in remote areas of the country.

Mobile network operator EE says the fleet will enable remote communities to maintain voice and data services when coverage is lost due to natural disasters such as flooding. They are preparing to deliver coverage via drones, although that project is not ready to launch.

The company said the helikite balloon, a mini mobile site attached to a helium balloon are best suited for ensuring coverage in the case of natural disasters and events, because they can stay airborne for up to a month and have a signal radius of up to 5km.

The balloons are more weather-resistant than the drones, although the company said lightning strikes posed a risk. 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 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.

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