EE LTE Advanced network goes live in London

EE has switched on its LTE Advanced 4G+ network in central London, but other cities will have to wait until next summer

EE has switched on its LTE Advanced network at 150 sites in central London and launched its 4G+ product.

Areas covered include Shoreditch, Old Street, South Bank, Soho, Westminster and Kensington. EE hopes to have extended it across Greater London by June 2015, at which point it will switch its attentions to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

The LTE Advanced network operates through carrier aggregation technology to offer download speeds of up to 150Mbps on a smartphone, and theoretically up to 300Mbps – more than doubling current top speeds.

Carrier aggregation, widely seen as a stepping stone along the path to 5G mobile networks, works  by combining bands of low (MHz) and high (GHz) frequency spectrum.

Lower frequency components enable better mobile service in buildings, while high frequency provides faster speeds and better network capacity.

In EE’s case, it is using 20MHz of 1,800MHz spectrum, and 20MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum.

At launch, the service will be available only on the Samsung Note 4 and Samsung Alpha devices, although EE said the capacity boost, which it termed as equivalent to adding extra lanes to a motorway, would also help regular 4G customers stay connected as well.

“Just two years since we were behind every developed market from the US to Japan, we’ve invested in innovation, driven competition and given people in London a network that’s faster than almost any other in the world, and even faster than most fibre broadband,” said EE CEO Olaf Swantee.

“We’re making sure that there is enough speed, enabled by enough capacity, to let our growing 4GEE customer base do all the amazing things that are just breaking through now – 4K video over 4G, wearable technology, and increasingly sophisticated mobile business apps. Capacity is the lifeblood of a good mobile service,” added CTO Fotis Karonis.

Elsewhere in the UK, EE has also turned its regular 4G service in 19 more towns it had not previously reached, including Banbury, Greenock, Warminster and Warwick. Two years after launching the service, it can now claim its 4G network touches 75% of the UK population. Its double speed 4G product is available to 50% of the population.

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