Mobile operator Vodafone has joined EE to become the second 4G based Mobile Broadband provider to make use of the latest Carrier Aggregation (LTE-Advanced) technology, which from this month should deliver a significant Internet speed and modest coverage boost for customers in Birmingham, Manchester and London (assuming the user owns supporting hardware).
The upgrade, which is part of the original 4G specification, essentially allows operators like Vodafone to harness more than one radio spectrum band at a time (i.e. on Voda this reflects the frequency slices that they own in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands). According to the operator, customers can expect “theoretical peak speeds of up to three times greater than existing 4G speeds based on the 800MHz band“.
The same technology has been in use by EE since last year as part of their on-going trials to deliver a 300Mbps (peak – shared capacity) service (here), with real-world average speeds tending to be a lot slower but still much faster than before. By comparison Vodafone has avoided making any specific performance claims, which might be a wise move considering the inherent variability of mobile performance.
Fergal Kelly, Vodafone UK’s Technology Director, told ISPreview.co.uk:
“This clever technology is the next big step to deliver faster speeds per user and to increase the capacity so more customers can enjoy a great 4G experience when and where they want it.”
The rollout of carrier aggregation technology, which is expected to reach other UK cities during the rest of this year and into 2015, is part of the £1 billion that Vodafone is spending on its network and services across the UK this year.
It’s interesting to note that Vodafone now looks set to get its LTE-A service into consumer hands before EE, unless you also consider Voda’s service a trial.