EE promises to double 4G speeds

EE says 10 cities will get 4G speeds of more than 20Mbps by the summer as the company refarms its 2G spectrum

Mobile network EE has announced plans to double its 4G speeds across the UK, meaning faster mobile connections for its 27 million customers.

The operator is currently the only one to offer 4G in the UK, and average download speeds sit between 8Mbps and 12Mbps. However, with the spectrum auction over and EE’s rivals putting together their 4G plans, it felt the need to raise its game.

“EE last year moved the industry and EE will continue to move the industry,” said Olaf Swantee, CEO of the firm, during a press conference in central London this morning.

“We have an enormous amount of capacity that we are going to use and provide to our customers. These assets…allow us to enhance our 4G services all the time,” he said.

The initial roll-out of the doubled speeds – meaning users will get over 20Mbps on average and a headline speed of 130Mbps – will be across 10 cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield. The plan is to complete these upgrades by the end of June.

Other EE users will have to wait longer, as the only solid goal the operator would give us about enabling the rest of its network at the faster speeds was in line with its promise of giving coverage to 98% of the UK by the end of 2014.

The way EE is managing to get the boost is by refarming 10MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum that is currently uses for 2G and dedicating it to 4G services. This doubles the spectrum allocation from 10MHz to 20MHz, and as the company is currently rolling out new infrastructure to support is 2G services, quality of the lesser connection should not be compromised.

“This allows us to build the UK again into an example, a benchmark, for mobile networks,” concluded Swantee. “We are reinstating the UK as a global leader in mobile communications.”

EE also pledged to have one million 4G customers by Christmas 2013. 

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