EE has claimed to have switched on the fastest 4G mobile network in the world. The network – running LTE-Advanced technology and which is capable of reaching 300Mbps speeds – will initially cover London’s Tech City, with companies in the area being selected to access it first.
This latest EE network innovation follows the company’s internal analysis of consumer and business trends, which forecasts a data-usage rise of 750% over the next three years. Such an unprecedented rise in usage means that a broad portfolio of mobile spectrum is essential for operators wanting to deliver a great customer experience for consumers and businesses in the near future.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: “Today we are introducing the next age of 4G mobile technology to the UK. Our existing 4G network delivers incredible mobile data speeds and covers millions of people across the country, but we never stand still. We know that mobile data usage is going to keep increasing, and rapidly so.
“Our analysts predict that data usage will grow significantly over the next three years. In fact, our trend-mapping shows that data usage is set to rise by 750% in that period, as consumers and companies conduct more of their business and lives on-line.
“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.”
The EE 300Mbps 4G network covers Tech City from launch, and will be rolled out across London throughout 2014. In December, local companies from the Tech City area will be selected to become exclusive EE partners, enabling them to experience the service before it becomes commercially available when compatible devices launch from mid-2014.
The new network innovation, which has a theoretical maximum speed of 300Mbps, is enabled by carrier aggregation – bringing together 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum and 20MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum. This is a fundamental feature of LTE-Advanced, and more features will be trialled throughout 2014 to extend EE’s global network leadership.
The LTE-Advanced device ecosystem is developing quickly to ensure that there are mobile broadband units and handsets capable of utlising this network capability. The EE selected user programme will launch using a CAT6 Huawei router – the first device of its kind in the world. The device can provide a high speed mobile Wi-Fi connection to up to twenty devices, and devices enabled with 802.11ac can access speeds as high as 200Mbps.
It is expected that the first commercially available Mobile Wi-Fi units will be introduced by summer 2014, also by Huawei, with handsets to follow in the second half of the year.