Increase from 2x10 to 2x20MHz of 1800MHz by summer in 10 markets, 'headline' speeds of '80Mbps plus'
EE, the UK's first, and so far only 4G LTE network, has said it's to increase the amount of its 1800MHz spectrum used for LTE, resulting in potentially double data speeds for customers compared to its current offerings. EE says this has produced speeds of up to 130Mbps in laboratory settings, "headline" speeds of 80Mbps in the real world, and average speeds of over 20Mbps for customers.
The new speeds will be rolled out to customers in ten of EE's initial launch markets by the summer. Launch cities for "double speed 4G" include Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.
Looking ahead, EE says it aims to trial carrier aggregation, a feature of the super-high-speed LTE-Advanced, before the end of 2013. In doing so, EE claims it'll be able to "deliver more 4G bandwidth than any other operator" in the UK. In today's announcement the carrier also indicated that it plans to invest in Wifi calling and VoLTE services in the future too.
EE says it aims to bring more than one million users onboard its LTE network by the end of 2013, though it'll face competition from the three other major UK carriers. While Three has indicated it's not going to rush its 4G roll-out, O2 and Vodafone could launch their own LTE networks as early as this spring, having acquired 800 and 2600MHz in the recent spectrum auction. Through being the first network to offer 2x20MHz LTE, EE will be hoping to maintain the lead over its rivals in this competitive space.
However for many, EE's high prices and capped data bundles remain the most significant barrier to entry, and there's no sign of that changing anytime soon.