UK mobile operator EE is doubling the amount of bandwidth allocated to 4G services in the 1800-MHz frequency, as it prepares for its rivals launch their own LTE networks.
The carrier is boosting the bandwidth allocated to 4G services to 20-MHz, which it claims will enable it to offer peak data rates of 80-Mbps and average rates of at least 20-Mbps. EE plans to deploy the upgrade in ten UK cities in the summer – around the time rivals Vodafone, O2 and Three UK are likely to be launching their 4G networks following the UK’s spectrum auction at the start of the year.
EE predicts its mobile data traffic will grow by at least 750% in the next three years and chief executive, Olaf Swantee, says the capacity boost will help the firm match that growing demand. “Since we launched 4G, we’ve seen a huge shift in the way people are using mobile. Video already accounts for 24% of all traffic on our 4G network…significantly more than on 3G.”
While the operator also detailed its goal to have a million 4G subscribers by the year-end, it stopped short of revealing how many customers have signed up to the service so far.
Matthew Howett, telecoms regulation analyst at Ovum, estimates EE is “perhaps just under half the way” towards its overall target, which the operator states would equate to around 8% of its total customer base.