EE today switched on the next generation of 4G in London, offering download speeds of up to 150Mbps to any user who has a compatible device (currently the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Alpha and the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 too supports the next-gen network).
The new network speeds are facilitated by ‘carrier aggregation’ which combines 20Mbps of the 1800MHz spectrum with 20MHz of the 2.6GHz spectrum to offer the advanced network. EE originally launched trials of LTE-A (also known as LTE Cat 6) in East London’s TechHub earlier this year but today marks the beginning of the rollout for general consumers.
LTE Cat.6 technology theoretically supports download speeds of up to 300Mbps but in real world usage, these peak at 150Mbps. For users who do not have a LTE-A enabled handset (such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus), you’ll still be able to benefit but won’t receive the headline download speeds; the addition of more spectrum means there is more bandwidth available and you’ll have a more reliable and faster connection than you do at the moment.
LTE-A is currently being switched on in Central London with the 2.5GHz spectrum live on 150 sites and 1800MHz live on more than 1500 sites. Going forward, EE will add more 2.5GHz sites until the entire area is and will then expand the coverage to Greater London by April 2015. After the rollout in London, EE will extend LTE-A to the next busiest cities in the UK, with Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool next in line.
Alongside the announcement of LTE-A, EE has also confirmed that Warwick will be EE’s 300th 4G town to go live in the UK meaning EE 4G now covers 75% of the UK population just two years after launch. In total 19 new 4G towns have been switched on this month; these 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).
Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, 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.
We’ll be testing LTE-A on EE in the coming days and will report back with our findings. Would you like download speeds of 150Mbps (faster than all UK fibre broadband) on your phone? What would you do with more data speeds? Let us know in the comments.