Additional partnerships set to launch early next year along with LTE roaming abroad for EE customers
UK carrier EE has announced that it's the first network operator to launch "inbound 4G roaming" for visitors to the UK, having reached its first LTE roaming agreement with U.S. operator AT&T. That means — technology-permitting — that AT&T subscribers should be able to roam on EE's 4G LTE network in the UK at some point in the future.
And there'll also be benefits for EE customers traveling overseas, as the operator says it'll open up LTE roaming to subscribers in the first half of 2014, though no specifics were revealed in today's announcement. EE currently offers a variety of roaming packages for traveling customers, but at present these top out at HSPA data speeds.
It's worth noting that LTE roaming agreements, while important, may still be hampered by the great variety of frequencies used by LTE networks around the world. AT&T, for instance, has much of its LTE deployed on 700MHz, while EE primarily uses 1800MHz. As such most devices currently sold on one network don't support the other's LTE bands.
Nevertheless agreements like this, and the recent partnership between AT&T and Canadian operator Rogers, are a significant first step. For its part, EE says it plans to announce more 4G roaming partners early next year.