BT-owned mobile network operator EE has switched on what it termed ‘the next generation of its 4G+ network’, demonstrating live download speeds of 429Mbps in the Welsh capital, Cardiff, using Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium handset. To achieve such downlink rates, the cellco noted that it is using a combination of 30MHz of 1800MHz spectrum and 35MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum, with the former being delivered using 4×4 MIMO. In addition, the cell sites where the new, higher speeds are available are also broadcasting 4G using 256QAM to increase spectrum efficiency.
Initially the enhanced network capability has been switched on in Cardiff and the Tech City area of London. Looking ahead, EE has said that it will upgrade sites in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh city centres, as well as central London, during 2017. According to the cellco, peak speeds can be above 400Mbps ‘with the right device’, while it claims customers connecting to the upgraded sites should be able to consistently experience speeds above 50Mbps.
EE claims to operate the UK’s ‘biggest and fastest’ mobile network, with 4G coverage currently extending to 80% of the UK’s landmass, equal to more than 99% of the UK population, while it aims to achieve 95% UK geographic coverage by 2020.