EE, the joint venture between Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, and the country’s largest mobile network operator, has announced that it aims to deploy its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in a further 21 towns and cities by March 2013. Having last week switched on its 4G network in Derby, Newcastle and Nottingham, EE has confirmed that it expects LTE service to go live in Belfast, Hull, Maidenhead and Slough before the end of the year, bringing the total number of cities in the network footprint to 18 by year’s end, ahead of its original schedule of 16. In addition to this, in the first three months EE has named the following cities as those where it plans to inaugurate 4G services: Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton. Such expansion, it claims, will bring 4G coverage to approximately four million more people across the UK.
Alongside expanding its LTE coverage zone, EE has said it is continuing to invest in increasing the network density in existing launch cities, with a view to improving the speed and reach of the infrastructure. In order to achieve this, the operator has said that it is enabling LTE on an increasing number of masts, and has noted that engineering work will continue in each area until 4G coverage matches that of the EE 2G and 3G networks. Further, the operator has said that the network’s mobile backhaul is also being updated to support superfast speeds, with 3G and 4G masts across the UK being connected with Gigabit Ethernet capacity to deliver ‘the highest standard of mobile backhaul, ensuring a great quality of experience, high speed and low latency’.
EE has also said that it will continue to invest in its 3G network, and has revealed it plans to introduce a DC-HSPA upgrade, noting that by the end of 2012 the technology will be live on 40% of the EE network.
Commenting on the latest developments, EE’s CEO Olaf Swantee said: ‘By the end of the first quarter of 2013, 4G will be available in 35 towns and cities across the UK, making superfast mobile accessible to thousands more customers and businesses every day.’