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UPD Everything Everywhere Launch EE for UK 4G Mobile and Fibre Broadband

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 (10:28 am) - Score 3,041

Mobile operator Everything Everywhere (Orange UK and T-Mobile) has today announced the launch of a third new network and new brand, EE (4GEE), to support the forthcoming launch of its new superfast 4G (LTE) 1800MHz based mobile broadband and fixed line “fibre broadband” ISP services.

Apparently the new mobile network, which is currently being held up by legal squabbles (today’s update), was officially switched on today and can already cover four UK cities including London, Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol. In total 16 cities are expected to be covered by the end of 2012, which will make related 4G services (average speeds of 8-12Mbps have been predicted) available to about a third of the population (20 million people).

Overall 98% of the UK population should be covered in 2014 (2013 population coverage to reach 70%) with 700 new EE-branded stores being opened. The 16 cities are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.

Meanwhile EE’s additional surprise is the announcement of a new superfast fixed line “fibre” broadband service, which will reach more than 11 million homes and businesses by the end of this year and 66% of UK by the end of 2014. This will make use of BT’s latest Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology and should offer speeds of up to almost 80Mbps (EE site states a 58.5Mbps average).

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said:

Today we launch a new company, a new network and a new brand for Britain. Our plans to revolutionise the UK communications market with a faster network and an exciting new brand for the digital age are built on solid investment and a simple belief that customers deserve better.

We look forward to connecting the country with superfast mobile speeds in the coming weeks, months and years. And it starts today, with the announcement of our new business, our new brand and a new digital infrastructure that our company, our customers and the country can be proud of.”

It’s understood that both the new 4G and Fibre solution will launch to customers “in the coming weeks“. The 4G service in particular will be complimented by a range of new Smartphones (e.g. Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, Nokia Lumia 920/820, The HTC One XL etc.) and USB Mobile Broadband dongles (e.g. Huawei E589 Mobile WiFi and Huawei E392 Mobile Broadband stick).

It’s noted that EE will also offer “standard broadband via ADSL” in non-fibre areas, which is likely to be a mirror for Orange UK’s existing Home Broadband bundles.

As a side note Orange and T-Mobile customers will continue to benefit. From today – and over the coming months – customers using Orange and T-Mobile will begin to see their phone signal indicator change to EE, whether they are on 3G or 2G, showing that they are on the UK’s “biggest and best network“. This is at no extra cost or change.

UPDATE 12th September 2012

Here’s the promotional video for yesterday’s announcement.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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22 Responses
  1. Avatar adslmax says:

    Unlimited & unshaped FTTC? :p

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      All FTTC comes from one provider (in terms of the contended part of the link) to whom all ISPs have to pay for bandwidth, so with a choice of one supplier for the critical bits, and that nobody really needs “unlimited” broadband, I doubt it.

      Going forward I can see unlimited broadband remaining available on ADSL LLU (which doesn’t have the contended bit at a street level) since it’s so slow anyway there’s a natural cap in place on how much users can get through.

    2. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Odd comments given at least two ISPs already offer unlimited options with FTTC – Sky and BT.

    3. Avatar DTMark says:

      The BT Group has the advantage of being able to obtain the bandwidth at cost price.

      Sky have decided to go with unlimited for now to go for market share.

    4. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      I think you’ll find both Sky and BT (Retail) will be paying the same for the service.

      You may be right about Sky’s motivation, although to be fair it is adopting the same approach that it has used with ADSL, so I suspect its driven in part by wanting to reduce churn on its TV packages, looking at the overall ARPU etc, not just the margin on the FTTC offering in isolation.

    5. Avatar DTMark says:

      “Sky and BT (Retail) will be paying the same for the service.”

      Don’t doubt it. That wasn’t the point I was making, however.

  2. Avatar Phil says:

    Sadly all Samsung Galaxy SII and SIII doesn’t have 4G compatible in UK. The only way to get 4GEE in UK is to wait until brand new Grey Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (these will support 4G) and T Mobile new grey Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE expecting to launch in 2013.

  3. Avatar DTMark says:

    Well this might be good news for us… we already get 6Mbps to 12Mbps via 3G on Three, and there is an Orange cell near here and a T-Mobile one slightly further away. What’s involved in them “upgrading” that cell to support the 4G services – is it hardware, software, both?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      This partly depends on what kit they’re using locally. For example, some of O2’s HSPA+ kit has technical support for LTE but that aspect hasn’t been enabled yet. So in some cases it should be fairly easy but it’s a hard one to answer, I’m not sure which kit Orange/T-Mobile have been buying.

    2. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      PC Magazine’s recent test of 4G LTE networks across various US cities showed a real-world average of around 8Mbps download speeds, mainly with Verizon. Some carriers delivered higher peak speeds, but reliable coverage seemed to equate to 8Mbps.

      I think this is useful information to have to counter some of the inevitable hype that will be generated as we get closer to 4G availability in the UK.

    3. Avatar DTMark says:

      I’d imagine the main reason why we get fair speeds with 3G is because the cells round here aren’t that contended. Having recently had the guy back round to optimise the roof antenna position, we tried all the cells in the area and there’s a tradeoff between latency and performance: the cell further away hits higher speeds (over 12Mbps down, near 5Mbps up) but ping times and signal strength are both worse. The performance is also more sporadic.

      Whereas the nearest one which we have line of sight to (from the roof) delivers consistently better ping times but tops out at about 12Mbps. On the other hand it doesn’t drop below about 6Mbps down and about 1.8Mbps up so it’s just usable as “broadband”.

      As a percentage of “what’s available” – I can detect three Site IDs for that mast, implying 3 cells (probably pointing in different directions) and we probably get quite a high percentage of what’s available precisely because there aren’t that many people using it.

      The irony – it’s 200m further away than the phone exchange is, and outperforms the knackered old phone line by a factor of between 4 and 9 times.

    4. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      Whereas my “knackered old phone line” delivers > 65Mbps quite happily, a speed not likely to be challenged by mobile any time soon, and more than meeting my bandwidth requirements for the foreseeable future.

    5. Avatar DTMark says:

      Indeed. Just goes to show that FTTC is no blanket superfast broadband solution.

      4G should be advertised as 4G. No speed indicated.

      What would be most amusing is for them to call it “fibre-optic broadband”. Would love to see how OFCOM explain a decision that says that they cannot do so.

      After all it’s fibre to the neighbourhood distribution point, and capable of 256kbps+ to just about everyone.

      Would perhaps kindle a debate about what is “fibre” and what is “broadband”.

    6. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      The ITUNES has a good, clear definition of broadband. Such a definition belongs with the global standards body for the industry, it gets confusing when we each make up our own, no matter how well intentioned.

      IIRC the ASA has effectively defined what is meant by the term “fibre broadband” in the UK by allowing Virgin to apply it to its cable network. Probably an ill-advised, bad decision better left to technologists than advertising men but there you are.

    7. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      ^^^^ should read ITU not ITUNES, didn’t spot predictive text insert.

  4. Avatar dragoneast says:

    It’s all about ROI – the same problem as with fixed line services. So EE (or “he he” perhaps) start with the big towns, and the question must be how far further they get – main roads perhaps as with their original roll-out a couple of decades ago. I’m in a village on the edge of a largish SE England town, and near to a principal trunk road, but Orange haven’t updated the mast for 3G+. 3G, sometimes; at a mast 100m away. And they appear to have decommissioned masts where Orange and T-mobile overlapped. Three look as they do a program of upgrades, area by area; Orange so far, seem much more selective; though it might be to do with backhaul, I suppose.

  5. Avatar Deduction says:

    MarkJ any news on Huawei’s further 1.3 billion investment in the UK?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Not yet. It’s unclear precisely what the deal means in specific respect to broadband, the PR spin is fairly vague.

    2. Avatar Deduction says:

      Indeed, only news about amount of jobs it will create from what i have seen read so far, hopefully though there is more to it with regards to either mobile or fixed line broadband.

  6. Avatar Dragon says:

    Sky (and I think Talktalk) seem to be doing FTTC using GEA.

    So whilst BT openreach are transporting the data between the Cabnet and the exchange it’s then handed off into their LLU network.

    No idea what this does to bandwidth costs in comparison to ISP’s who use BT wholesale to get the data to their POP.

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