Test reveals 'patchy' EE LTE network, but indoor speeds get thumbs up

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The first large-scale test of EE's LTE services in the UK indicates that the operator's newly launched LTE network has patchy coverage.

According to a BBC News report, data collected in the city of Manchester by mobile coverage firm RootMetrics reveals that just 40.2 per cent of the test locations had access to the LTE network. Outside the city centre there was no LTE coverage, according to the tests.

This patchy coverage mirrors rollouts in the US, where deployments had typically launched with 30 per cent to 60 per cent coverage, RootMetric's CEO Bill Moore told BBC News.

"Although EE's 4G service is much faster than any network currently available in the UK, our testing shows that 4G connections are not consistent even within a nominated area," he said.

Nevertheless, RootMetrics also found that the LTE network provided much faster speeds indoors, with speeds averaging 9.7 Mbps. There had been concerns that the 1800-MHz spectrum used by EE for LTE would not be suitable for good indoor coverage. Although the test did not separate LTE from existing 3G services, "you would never get the indoor speeds we have seen without 4G. The figures are far in excess of what 3G is capable of on average," Moore told BBC News.

RootMetrics said it plans to conduct more tests of the LTE network in other UK cities.

EE has currently deployed LTE  in 11 UK cities, and plans to increase this to 16 by year-end. The company has also been rolling out more LTE data plans for consumers, the latest being 12-month SIM-only contracts from £21 a month.

Separately, EE has been in the headlines this week over rumours that it has complained to Vodafone about the latter's 4G advertising campaign, which promotes services that have not even been launched yet. According to a report in The Telegraph, EE is considering making a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because it believes Vodafone is 'misleading' customers.

An EE spokesperson said EE is not making any comments on the matter at present. The ASA told Mobile News that it has not received a formal complaint about the Vodafone 4G ad.

For more:
- see this BBC News article
- see this Telegraph article

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