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

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 (10:26 am) - Score 1,067

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.

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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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