EE, the UK’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, and the first of the country’s cellcos to launch commercial LTE services, has announced the switch-on of an LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in a limited part of the capital London. With EE saying that its new infrastructure has a theoretical maximum speed of 300Mbps, it claims the increased rate has been enabled by carrier aggregation, with the bringing together of 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum and 20MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum. At launch the network will only cover Tech City, a technology cluster located in Central and East London, and from next month local companies will be selected to become exlcusive EE partners, in a move which it is claimed will allow them to experience the service before it becomes commercially available once compatible devices are launched, with such equipment expected by mid-2014. Looking ahead, meanwhile, the LTE-A network is expected to be rolled out across the capital ‘throughout 2014’.
Commenting on the development, EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: ‘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.’