BT Unveils Drone SIM To Revolutionize BVLOS Operations

BT has introduced the UK’s inaugural “Drone SIM,” poised to redefine beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone operations on a national scale.

BT Unveils Drone SIM To Revolutionize BVLOS Operations

In a monumental stride towards advancing drone capabilities, BT has introduced the UK’s inaugural “Drone SIM,” poised to redefine beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone operations on a national scale. Operating seamlessly through the EE network, this innovation offers boundless data plans and uninterrupted connectivity in the airspace, heralding a transformative era across various industries.

Engineered to withstand even the harshest conditions, including vibrations, temperature fluctuations, and humidity, the Drone SIM guarantees functionality in all weather extremes. BT’s business clientele will be the first to harness the potential of this cutting-edge technology.

Dave Pankhurst, Director of Drones at BT, expressed his enthusiasm, stating: “Following the successful trials of our Drone SIM over the past year, this announcement is a huge stepping stone in bringing drone connectivity to businesses across the UK, unlocking the potential for more efficient processes, business transformation and, with the ability to power search and rescue missions and medical deliveries, helping to save lives.”

Leveraging the robust EE network, BT ensures high-priority and ultra-responsive connectivity. This network empowers critical functions such as safety, control, telemetry, and ultra-high-definition (UHD) video streaming at altitudes—enabling detailed imagery and videos for applications ranging from search-and-rescue to infrastructure inspections.

With the broadest geographic coverage in the UK, uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be able to traverse significant distances while maintaining constant communication with remote pilots and safety systems. This represents a significant departure from the constraints imposed by line-of-sight radio transmission or local Wi-Fi.

The impact of the Drone SIM extends across various sectors. Eduardo Aldaz-Carroll, Chief Technology Officer at, emphasized the significance of drone inspections in national energy infrastructure: “Drones offer significant benefits by increasing the speed, efficiency and consistency of data capture so we can predict the future state of the asset with reduced risk and environmental impact.”

Etc., BT Group’s digital start-up and incubation arm, has played a pivotal role in driving innovation in the drone industry. Historic collaborations, such as the £5 million deal with Altitude Angel, have been instrumental in establishing the UK’s inaugural drone superhighway.

After successful trials and advancements, Drone SIM has powered critical infrastructure inspections, rigorous BVLOS mission safety standards testing, and even a groundbreaking drone medical delivery trial in partnership with aerial logistics specialist Skyfarer.

Georgia Hanrahan, Chief Operations Officer at Skyfarer, hailed the potential of Drone SIM in fueling BVLOS flights: “With the Drone SIM powering BVLOS flight, we can take a 20-minute flight between two hospitals and reduce this to a more direct 8-minute flight. Perfect for time-sensitive deliveries. We estimate a wider scale roll out nationwide could reduce our delivery time by 60 percent compared to road transport.”

The introduction of the Drone SIM marks a watershed moment in the trajectory of drone technology in the UK. With the capacity to save lives, redefine businesses, and streamline vital operations, it ushers in a new era for unmanned aerial vehicles.