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EE Begin UK Trial of Ultrafast 300Mbps 4G LTE-A Mobile Broadband Speeds

Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2013 (8:40 am) - Score 1,673

EE (4GEE) has confirmed that its first trial of ultrafast 300Mbps (Megabits per second) capable 4G (LTE) based Mobile Broadband speeds should get underway in East London (Tech City) today, although the full commercial roll-out isn’t due to begin until summer 2014; once more end-user hardware is available to support it.

At present most of EE’s existing Long Term Evolution (LTE) based 4G infrastructure uses a 20MHz slice of the 1800MHz radio spectrum band to deliver peak Internet download speeds of up to 150Mbps (aka – Release 8 – Category 3/4), which in the real-world usually equates to average speeds of around 24-30Mbps. But EE are currently only part-way through this roll-out (available in 20 UK cities) and yet they’re already taking the next big step.


The operator, which predicts that data usage will rise by 750% over the next three years, now intends to harness the very latest Category 6 (Release 10) speeds that take us into the next evolution of LTE mobile technology known as LTE-Advanced (LTE-A). This is often described by us as the “true” 4G standard because at Category 8+ we get speeds of 1Gbps+ (1000Mbps), which the ITU say is the official point at which a mobile service can be legitimately called “4G” (here).

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said:

Today we are introducing the next age of 4G mobile technology to the UK. Our existing 4G network delivers incredible mobile data speeds and covers millions of people across the country, but we never stand still. We know that mobile data usage is going to keep increasing, and rapidly so.

Our analysts predict that data usage will grow significantly over the next three years. In fact, our trend-mapping shows that data usage is set to rise by 750% in that period, as consumers and companies conduct more of their business and lives on-line.

The network we’re switching on today in Tech City uses the spectrum that we acquired in the Ofcom spectrum auction earlier this year, and is the first part of an infrastructure that can meet the future demands of an increasingly data-hungry nation, enabling us to stay one-step ahead of the demand.”

The new upgrade will make use of LTE-A’s carrier aggregation technology, which should allow EE to bring together both their existing 1800MHz network and add 20MHz of the latest 2.6GHz spectrum that was secured during Ofcom’s recent auction process (here). A CAT6 Huawei router, which is said to be the “first device of its kind in the world“, will then be used to harness both bands and deliver the service to consumers (i.e. it can distribute this out for up to 20 end-users via 802.11ac capable wifi).

Sadly the first CAT6 capable handsets aren’t due to surface until the latter half of 2014. Meanwhile EE also intend to trial some additional 4G features throughout 2014, which is likely to include a service that’s capable of being delivered over their slice of the 800MHz band. Obviously this is all a moot point for customers with existing 4G kit, which is mostly only Category 2-4 capable (50-150Mbps).

EE views CAT6+ LTE-A speeds as essential to help businesses and consumers get the most out of their Internet connections. The operator notes that “BBC iPlayer streams at 5Mbps, whereas 4K TV will stream at 20Mbps, so a consistently high average speed, enabled by sufficient capacity on the network, is essential“.


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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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