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EE UK Nears Gigabit Speed 4G Mobile as Wembley Test Hits 765Mbps

Thursday, July 6th, 2017 (7:51 am) - Score 1,362

Mobile operator EE only recently began to roll-out their new 400Mbps+ capable Category 16 based 4G+ (LTE-Advanced) Mobile Broadband technology (here) and now they’ve taken it to another level by demonstrating downloads of up to 765Mbps (110Mbps upload) at Wembley Stadium.

It’s claimed that EE are the first European Mobile Network Operator (MNO) to demonstrate a near Gigabit performance LTE network in the wild (we haven’t been able to verify this), although their setup sounds more or less identical to the technology that is already being deployed as part of the aforementioned 400Mbps+ roll-out; albeit with much more capacity to support the faster speeds.

In that sense Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium Smartphone, which is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 CPU (integrates a 1Gbps capable LTE-Advanced Cat 19 modem), once again takes centre stage. Meanwhile EE’s network harnessed Carrier Aggregation (using several radio spectrum bands at once), 4×4 MIMO (sends and receives four signals), 10 spatial streams and 256 QAM for better efficiency of the spectrum.

We don’t know exactly how much radio spectrum EE’s latest test was able to harness, although their new 400Mbps+ service already uses 30MHz of the 1800MHz band and 35MHz of the 2.6GHz band. Apparently a peak speed of 825Mbps is possible, although most people only saw the Ookla based speedtest deliver performance of around 650-750Mbps (download).

At present only Sony’s phone, as well as the HTC U11 and the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus currently have the necessary hardware to stand any chance of delivering close to this kind of performance in the wild.

Tom Bennett, EE’s Network Services Boss, said:

“We will keep investing to stay at the cutting edge of network and device technology so that our customers keep getting the best possible network experience. Working with the best technology companies across the mobile industry is vital to that.”

However today you’d only hit this kind of speed at either Wembley Stadium, Cardiff Millennium Stadium (Wales) or at the core of London’s Tech City, where the technology has been enabled. Even then you’d require an excellent signal and would need to run your test during an off-peak period when there’s plenty of spare capacity (i.e. when the network isn’t congested).

As we said earlier, the core technology for this is already being deployed (see link in the first paragraph) and in keeping with that we should see more coverage around the city centre areas of Cardiff (Wales) and London over the next few weeks or months. Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh will begin to follow later in 2017 and 2018.

The advancements are most welcome, although they also help to highlight one of the reasons why Mobile networks haven’t yet been able to replaced fixed-line broadband services – data caps. Being able to hit Gigabit speeds is all well and good, but it’s of limited use if that performance is then hobbled by meagre data allowances (EE’s biggest standard allowance is just 30GB, although they often deliver more with special offers).

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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.
Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. ABC says:

    A few mistakes in this article. The XZ Premium includes a Cat 16 modem, not a Cat 19 modem. The Samsung S8/+ is not Cat 16 capable, and I believe the same is the case for the HTC U11 according to HTCs own website.

    1. Joshyy says:

      The S8 is CAT16, The HTC U11 is only CAT15 however.

    2. ABC says:

      The S8 is not Cat16 in UK markets.

  2. Simon says:

    I’ve got a XZ Premium, 250mbps in Newport, 12 in Cardiff (lol) EE do upto 65GB if you are willing to pay for it.

    They will need to do the go binge from t-mobile US to make them competitive now – as 25GB is gone in minutes at 765Mbps!

  3. Mike says:

    Still rather have unlimited 50Mbps with Three.

  4. Peter Knapp says:

    Peak speed on one handset is a great headline maker.

    How does it actually perform when there are 20k handsets attached to the cell.

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