EE kindly sent me through a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE last week so we could have a play around with the device on their new 4G LTE network. You may remember that when we initially tried EE's 4G at the press event we were pretty amazed with the download and upload speeds provided -- we consistently got in excess of 40Mbps down and 15Mbps up.

Last week's real life tests weren't quite so impressive -- our results beat 3G hands-down, but it wasn't quite as impressive as the pre-launch speed tests had indicated. A typical test would see between 10 and 20Mbps down and up to 10Mbps up. That said, things were pretty consistent over the two days I spent in London, and speeds that were on offer were more than capable of streaming music and HD video. A friend in London doing the same tests reported that his results were pretty much on par with ours, although in one instance he managed 40Mbps down. That seemed to be a one off, though, and he also reported that the phone not only lost 4G at one point, but it also lost 3G and ended up using 2G for a short time. So clearly a few teethig issues remain with the new network.

It's still early days for LTE here in the UK, and while the results didn't match the pre-launch speed tests, they're far from bad when compared to 3G on most networks. The question, however, is whether or not it's worth paying the extra money for the 4G service. That, we think, has to come down to personal choice and what you use your smartphone for.

On another note (no pun intended), we were impressed with the fact that while in 4G coverage areas, the Galaxy Note 2 didn't seem to drain its battery noticeably quicker than when on 3G/HSPA. It has a huge battery anyway, but the fact that we made it through two days on a single charge with sporadic 4G use is impressive. It will be interesting to see how 4G battery life is affecting others, so feel free to sound off in the comments if you've picked up one of the new LTE smartphones from EE.


Reader comments

Testing out EE's 4G LTE in Central London


EFF Verizon. All of St.Louis I average 12 down and 5 up for lte. I had slim to none all the way to Chicago and in Chicago it was spotty at beast and slow there.
Verizon has 7 4g towers, along with other regular towers, to cover all of St.Louis, over 800 sq. miles and 2 million people. LTE towers only cover 4 sq miles around it, and slows down exponentially the farther outside the 4 miles the farther you go.

I'm sick of Verizon doing the bare minimum installing the 4g network and calling that area covered when I'm getting lte speeds that are about the same as my wifi. I get 12 down 5 up from vzw and my wifi gets 10 down 2 up. I pay for the lte speeds but verizon doesn't give me lte speeds. Verizon is a Joke calling areas covered when all they do is put in the bare minimum of towers.

what is any of this have to do with EE's LTE in London? as a side note, I've had nothing but good experiences with Verizon's LTE network in Central Texas.

I highly doubt there are only 7 4G towers in St. Louis. I live in Louisville and there are over 50 Verizon towers with LTE...and that is just in the city. It rocks.

What is sad here is that real world LTE is not much better than HSPA+. Tmo is doing well holding off. Once people see the real speeds LTE in it current iteration isn't worth the hype. Now with Tmo doing LTE advanced instead may make this all mute.