EE, the UK’s biggest mobile operator, switched on its 4G+ network in central London today (30 October 2014). The next step in 4G technology –so known as LTE-Advanced – will give customers access to one of the fastest networks in the world, delivering real world mobile data speeds of 150Mbps to a smartphone.
Mobile data usage is growing rapidly all the time, and faster speeds mean everyone can have quicker downloads, more efficient working, and quicker internet access, the operator claimed. However, the 4G+ device ecosystem is limited at the moment with EE currently offering just two 4G+ compatible devices – the Samsung Alpha and the Samsung Note 4.
The new 4G+ technology harnesses carrier aggregation techniques combining EE’s 1800MHz and 2.6GHz high capacity spectrum. The service is available in large parts of central London, including Shoreditch, Old Street, Southbank, Soho, Westminster and Kensington.
By June 2015, EE aims to have full 4G+ coverage across Greater London, and will then introduce 4G+ across the UK’s busiest cities, including Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
Faster 4GEE for everyone
4G+ will deliver peak speeds of around 150Mbps, on a par with the fastest mobile networks in the world. On top of this, the additional airwaves being used for 4G+ add new capacity for all EE customers, like adding extra lanes to a motorway, giving an uplift to all customers in the 4G+ enabled locations.
EE believes 4G+ and the additional speeds and capacity it brings will also be a huge boost for the tens of thousands of business customers in London.
Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE (pictured), said:“The UK is now back to being a world leader in mobile networks. Just two years since we were behind every developed market from the US to Japan, we’ve invested in innovation, driven competition and given people in London a mobile network that’s faster than almost any other in the world, and even faster than most fibre broadband available here.
“We’re delighted to be able to exclusively offer our business and consumer customers on EE plans the fastest speeds available in the UK. We’re now the largest 4G network in Europe, but it doesn’t stop here. We’ll keep investing to make sure that all our customers can get access to the great mobile technology that can make a real difference to the way they live their digital lives.”
300 4G towns and cities
At the same time as delivering new 4G+ speeds to the capital, EE said it continues to roll out 4G to the whole of the UK. 19 more towns and cities have been switched on this month, with Warwick the 300th 4G town and city to go live. 4G from EE is now available to more than 75% of the UK population.
The 19 new 4G towns switched on this month are: Alexandria (Scotland), Banbury, Biggleswade, Blaydon, Catterick Garrison, Cookstown (Northern Ireland), Garforth, Greenock, Holmfirth, Limavady (Northern Ireland), Maltby, Oxted, Penicuik (Scotland), Tring, Waltham Cross, Warminster, Warwick, Winterbourne, and Ystrad Mynach (Wales).
Double Speed 4G
EE’s unique Double Speed 4G is also expanding across the UK. The network with speeds up to 60Mbps is now available in 20 places and to more than 50% of the UK population, and will widely cover 20 more large towns and cities by the end of the year.
EE launched 4G into the UK EE two years ago and now has more than six million 4GEE customers, making it the largest 4G network in Europe.
4G+: speeds and spectrum
Mobile data speeds in 4G+ areas will regularly be up to 90Mbps, and customers will see speeds as high as 150Mbps, for users with a compatible device on a 4GEE Extra or Corporate 4GEE plan.
The new speeds are achieved through ‘carrier aggregation’, combining 20MHz in each of the 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, enabling a theoretical maximum speed of 300Mbps.
The additional 20MHz of spectrum doubles the capacity of EE’s network in London, increasing average speeds for all 4GEE customers, no matter what device they're using or which 4GEE plan they’re on.
Fotis Karonis, CTO at EE, said:“We’re building a network for the future. We’re making sure that there is enough speed, enabled by enough capacity, to let our growing 4GEE customer base do all the amazing things that are just breaking through now – 4K video over 4G, wearable technology, and increasingly sophisticated mobile business apps.
“Capacity is the lifeblood of a good mobile service, and we’re adding more here to give our customers the best possible mobile experience, now and into the future.”