At an event in London this morning EE, currently the UK’s only 4G mobile operator, set out its plans for the next stage of its LTE network. The CEO of EE ,Olaf Swantee, has announced that the carrier plans to boost peak data speeds for its customers and increase the capacity of its 4G network.
Under the new plans EE says that it will double the capacity of its 2G and 4G 1800MHz spectrum to 20MHz, which means that the peak download speeds on EE’s network will double to more than 80Mbps. EE also aims to improve their customers average data speeds to over 20Mbps. To top off the good news, plans and prices will remain exactly the same for new and existing customers.
The juiced up 4G speeds will be operational in ten major UK cities come the summer. The affected areas are as follows: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.
The press release also touches on EE’s plans to test out LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation in the near future. Although any specific dates weren’t provided, the successful acquisition of 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrums in the recent Ofcom 4G auction will allow EE to deliver 4G connectivity across different frequency bands. The combination of multiple 4G signals will provide future EE customers with a much wider data bandwidth, further improving their data speeds up to a potential maximum of 130Mbps.
Of course in the face of up coming competition from Three, 02, and Vodaphone, EE has had to step up its game. UK consumers have been a little slow to take up 4G networking, possibly due to the limited availability of 4G services outside of major cities or they are simply waiting for their preferred carrier to offer the service instead. EE currently has about 50% of the UK population covered with its LTE network, but the company is aiming to cover 98% of the UK population by the end of 2014.
Combine decent network coverage with the boosted data speeds and EE should be able to maintain its advantage when competing services go live in the next few months. We’ll just have to wait and see.