EE says Wembley Stadium LTE carrier advanced demo a first for UK

EE said it achieved a UK first when it delivered a data rate of 400 Mbps to a single device during a demonstration of LTE carrier aggregation conducted in conjunction with Qualcomm.

The UK operator on Thursday kicked off a fresh round of testing of carrier aggregation--which EE refers to as 4G+--with a demonstration at Wembley Stadium in London that combined three separate spectrum bands to deliver data rates of 400 Mbps. The demonstration utilised a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CAT 9 processor, and aggregated 20 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum, 20 MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum, and 15 GHz of 2.6 GHz to produce what EE said is Europe's fastest 4G network.

Qualcomm, EE and Huawei announced in December that they had achieved maximum data rates of 410 Mbps in trials of the three-carrier aggregation approach using the same three spectrum bands.

EE said the Wembley demonstration paves the way for it to extend its 4G+ service to the stadium from late March, as part of a recently announced £1.5 billion (€2 billion/$2.3 billion) network investment. The operator's 4G+ service launched in central London in October, and aggregates two bands of 20 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands to offer peak data rates of up to 150 Mbps.

The Wembley demonstration highlights the benefits of using more spectrum to boost the speed and capacity of mobile broadband networks, EE CTO Fotis Karonis noted.

"[I]t's trials like these at Wembley Stadium that allow us to ensure EE customers continue to get the very best experiences from their mobile network now and in the future. This is a showcase of what a truly amazing 4G network can do, and is a big step in our ambition to make Wembley Stadium the most connected stadium in the world," Karonis said.

In a separate announcement, Qualcomm Technologies VP and CTO Matt Grob noted that the industry needs "a combination of more spectrum, more efficient use of existing spectrum, and more small cells," to meet an expected 1,000-times increase in mobile data traffic.

Grob made the statement as Qualcomm announced it has extended LTE Advanced technology into unlicensed spectrum--an approach the company dubbed LTE-U--and embedded the technology into a mobile device RF transceiver for the first time, enabling handsets to operate in unlicensed 5 GHz bands.

Qualcomm said the new WTR3950 transceiver is based on its existing single-chip LTE carrier aggregation RF transceivers, and can combine three 20 MHz bands across licensed and unlicensed spectrum. The new transceiver is due to be ready for commercial sampling in the back half of 2015.

For more:
- see this EE LTE announcement
- view this Qualcomm release
- read about EE's network investment

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