EE, the UK’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, has announced plans to double the speed offered by its Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, while it also aims to enhance capacity on its 4G network. Under its plans, EE has said that it will boost headline speeds to 80Mbps, with the average speeds for its 4GEE customers expected to increase to more than 20Mbps. In order to improve capacity on the network meanwhile the operator has said that it will double the amount of 1800MHz spectrum used for its LTE services from 10MHz to 20MHz. Initially the network improvements will be introduced in a total of ten cities – all of which are currently able to access EE’s standard 4G service – with those being: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield. Once the network improvements are switched on, both new and existing customers in the aforementioned cities will automatically gain access to the improved speeds whether connecting via smartphone, tablet or dongle.
Meanwhile, EE’s acquisition of spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, which was announced in February 2013 at the conclusion of the UK’s 4G spectrum auction, will provide it with what it claims is ‘the UK’s widest and most capable spectrum portfolio, allowing the boost of superfast data services and coverage – indoors and outdoors, in cities and the countryside’. With its new frequencies in tow, EE has confirmed that before the end of this year it aims to trial carrier aggregation, a fundamental feature of LTE-Advanced, combining spectrum from different bands to further boost performance, speed and capacity. Through the use of its spectrum assets in this manner the cellco has argued it will be able to deliver more 4G bandwidth than any other operator in the UK. Further, EE has said it will also make additional investments and improvements to its core network with a view to enabling a wide range of new services, including voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and voice-over-LTE (VoLTE).
Alongside revealing its plans to enhance and advance its network infrastructure, EE has also set out its stall with regards to customer uptake, confirming that it hopes to have signed up one million 4G customers by the end of this year. While the cellco has not said how many LTE customers it currently has, it did note that it would provide updates on its progress towards reaching the one million mark in future announcements.
Having inaugurated its 4G network commercially in October 2012, EE has said it now expects to offer its LTE services in a total of 80 towns and cities – representing around 55% of the population – by June 2013. Late last month, as previously reported by CommsUpdate EE announced that its 4G network had gone live in an additional 13 towns and cities across the UK, bringing the total number of locations covered to 50, just five months after the launch of the service.