EE held back faster 4G speeds for a network 'upgrade'
The UK's only 4G network will increase headline speeds to 80Mbps with users to see an average of over 20Mbps. EE is rolling out the improvements to cities across the UK over the summer and said it plans to reach one million customers on 4G by the end of the year. See: What is 4G? A complete guide to 4G.
Instead of using spectrum acquired in the UK's 4G auction, EE is doubling the 1800MHz bandwidth from 10MHz to 20MHz. The firm could have theoretically used this from the start but appears to have saved it until now as an 'upgrade'.
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."
The 10 cities to get the speed and capacity boost are: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield. See also: 4G LTE rollout schedule in the UK.
EE has refused to comment in detail on what it is doing with the 2.6GHz and 800MHz spectrum it purchased in the 4G auction saying only that it "will support the existing 1800MHz network to further increase capacity and reach". The firm has the highest market share of spectrum in the UK with a total of 36 percent.
What we do know is that the network will be testing LTE-Advanced by the end of the year. EE aims to be of the first networks in the word to offer speeds of 300Mbps. EE is also looking into voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and voice calls over 4G/LTE (VoLTE).