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EE UK Boost 4G Mobile Broadband Capacity for Top Speeds of 80Mbps

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 (10:26 am) - Score 1,037
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Mobile operator EE (4GEE) has announced that it will double the amount of 1800MHz radio spectrum bandwidth dedicated to its 4G (LTE) based Mobile Broadband network (from 10MHz to 20MHz at each cell), which will boost network capacity and could deliver headline speeds of 80Mbps (average speeds of 20Mbps).

At present the operators 4G network is already available to 50% of the UK population and it’s expected to reach 55% by June 2013 when a total of 80 towns and cities should be enabled (here). Similarly the new “double-speed” boost will be introduced to 10 cities by the summer: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

By comparison EE’s existing 4G product claims to forecast average service speeds of 8-12Mbps, although some recent data suggests that average speeds of over 16Mbps were now common. But EE believes in “future proofing” its network, not least because their internal 4G usage data has forecast that its mobile data traffic should increase by 50% before the end of 2013 and grow by as much as 750% come 2016.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said:

We are ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of the digital revolution. Having already pioneered 4G here, we’re now advancing the country’s infrastructure again with an even faster, even higher-capacity network, and at no extra cost to our customers.

Since we launched 4G, we’ve seen a huge shift in the way people are using mobile. Video already accounts for 24% of all traffic on our 4G network – that’s significantly more than on 3G. Maps, mobile commerce, sat-nav tools and cloud services are all seeing a similar rise. Mobile users in the UK have a huge appetite for data-rich applications, and this will only grow as people become more familiar with and reliant upon next generation technologies and services.

Our double speed 4G network will provide developers with the quality and speeds needed to develop the next wave of killer 4G apps. Whatever innovations they come up with, we’re ready.”

EE, which aims to extend its 4G coverage to 98% of the population by the end of 2014, claims that it’s committed to “always having the fastest network in the UK” and has also set itself a new target of reaching 1 million 4G customers by the end of 2013.

The operator has similarly revealed that it’s working on a series of additional improvements to its core network, such as the addition of services like voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and video and voice calls over 4G/LTE (VoLTE).

Before the end of 2013, EE is also aiming to trial carrier aggregation, which is a key feature of next-generation LTE-Advanced (i.e. true 4G) technology. This will allow the operator to combine spectrum from different bands to further boost performance, speed and capacity.

The move is likely to be seen as an attempt by EE to retain its early-start advantage over rivals, which later this spring or summer will begin entering the market with 4G services of their own via the new 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands.

Leave a Comment
16 Responses
  1. Avatar Kyle

    When they remove their pathetic data caps from their products, maybe I’d take a look. At the moment, 3’s approach to truly unlimited is my preferred choice, even though I live and work in two of the live cities mentioned above.

    • Avatar DTMark

      If they offer truly unlimited data then I fear they will not be able to meet their speed commitments.

      But then Three do this, and it’s still quite speedy despite the fact that they must have attracted P2P “leeches” away from landlines. Speed is always above 6Meg, normally 9Meg to 12Meg.

      I’ve always assumed this has mostly to do with poor building penetration thanks to Three’s frequency set and so they have to deploy more cells per sq km than other operators so it balances – here is rural yet we can connect to three masts with six or more cells.

      EE – please don’t sell out to Sky, as it will preclude me from using that network.

    • As I recall Three UK use Traffic Management to target restrictions towards P2P services.

  2. Avatar DanielM

    @Mark

    three do,But It’s hardly noticeable though. it also depends what APN you use.

    • Avatar DTMark

      When you say APN does that pertain to the address block you get when you’re assigned your IP?

      From memory it’s usually 9x.xxx.xxx.xxx (might be 94.) and that performs better than when it occasionally gets an address in the block 188.xxx.xxx.xxx.

    • Avatar DanielM

      No

      the IP’s are almost the same for both ( Except one uses carrier grade nat) and that is three.co.uk, with three.co.uk you will get an ip of 10.XX.XX.XX

      3internet is totally open

  3. Avatar zemadeiran

    I am seriously looking at looking at 3….

    Their ultrafast 3g looks tempting for fixed wireless access (2nd floor) and my area is covered.

    Anyone tried their ultrafast product yet?

    • Avatar DTMark

      It isn’t here yet, so, no. Very much hoping that it will come to this area since we can “see” three “masts” with multiple cells on each from here.

      I have however managed to get 30GB/mo for £45/mo from them now with no long contract, so for a 9Meg to 12Meg down, 2Meg to 3Meg up single channel 3G solution that’s pretty reasonable.

      Another user did post a speed test showing around 20Meg down with DC-HSPA and I’ve seen other speedtests in the same ballpark.

    • Avatar Kyle

      Mark, did you manage to negotiate a personalised deal with them? I assume from your posts that your top-up value makes you a high-value customer to them!

    • Avatar DTMark

      I think we spend about £1000 a year on it.

      We got into watching “Breaking Bad” on Netflix and that swallows up huge amounts of data.

      I had to call them as the “My3” thing was broken [again] and I had to “top up” the account (7GB for £25).

      I’d looked at contracts before, but the maximum allowance is 15GB. Ironically if the thing ran more slowly than it does, that might suffice. As it is, PAYG is cheaper for 30GB/mo.

      However someone very helpful was stunned at the usage and suggested their (new? I hadn’t seen it before) option of the rolling monthly contract @ £15/mo for 10GB.

      The solution is to get three of those and have the credit limit on the account set to nil.

      That way it behaves the same as PAYG – when the 10GB runs out it just stops working, and I then swap to SIM card 2, then SIM card 3..

      Bit of a farce, but I can live with it – I have to, since it’s my only option.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Breaking bad, good taste sir.

    • Avatar DTMark

      Why thank you 🙂

      As a rule I don’t generally like US shows. I find their culture too alien to ours, and their “pace out a two hour story over 80 episodes” approach too painful to sit through.

      This one is outstanding. The acting, the scripts, the comedy, the serious bits, the characters – very, very good.

      Just about to start season 5. Very highly recommended to all, as long as you’re OK with the morals of it (watching, as opposed to agreeing with or participating in!)

    • Avatar FibreFred

      I’ve only just started on Season 2 and loving it.

      You may have similar tastes so I’d also recommend Dexter and the epic “The Wire” which is probably the best US TV I’ve ever seen and for me on par with the sopranos

    • Avatar DTMark

      It goes a little astray in season 3 – starts well, but a few filler episodes.

      Stick with it, and the climax of season 4 is well-worth waiting for.

      I shall check out “Dexter”, thanks, and have another ‘go’ at “The Wire” – I watched three episodes and didn’t really “get it” (the unintelligble “street speak” and the ever wandering camera angles – as if the cameraman had some kind of attention deficit disorder – got on my nerves), but it’s so well-rated it “must just be me”.

      Oh, and have a look at YouTube for “Breaking Bad Gag Reel” – you can see how much fun the actors had, Cranston has quite a sense of humour. Very funny.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      I’ll check that out

      No its not just you. The wire is very hard work to start with, but you get out what you put in, if you stick with it until the end of season 1 you’ll be hooked I’m sure. By then you’ll have picked up most of the slang and started to get into the characters, its well worth it

    • Avatar zemadeiran

      Civility, interesting concept….

      Common ground always seems to work wonders 😀

      My personal choice is “Boardwalk Empire” as I love shit like the Sopranos etc

      The dark side beckons…

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