EE switches on LTE-Advanced network

EE switched on an early version of its LTE Advanced network, with initial coverage limited to an area in the UK capital called London Tech City and selected companies permitted to trial the technology until its commercial launch next year.

In a statement, the UK operator said the network--which it describes as the fastest LTE network in the world--is capable of reaching speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Huawei is providing the equipment for the new high-speed network, which is expected to be commercially available starting in mid-2014.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said the primary goal is to meet the growing demand for data among consumers and businesses. "Our analysts predict that data usage will grow significantly over the next three years," said Swantee in a statement. "In fact, our trend-mapping shows that data usage is set to rise by 750 per cent in that period, as consumers and companies conduct more of their business and lives on-line."

Swantee added that the network in Tech City uses LTE spectrum bought during the UK auction this year. The theoretical maximum speed of 300 Mbps is enabled by carrier aggregation, bringing together 20 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum and 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz spectrum. Carrier aggregation allows carriers to meld together disparate bands of spectrum for wider channels; wider channels enable faster downlink speeds.

EE said the initial selected user programme will launch using a CAT6 Huawei router, which can provide a high-speed mobile Wi-Fi connection to up to 20 devices.

EE launched its LTE network a year ago and now has more than 1.2 million LTE customers and an LTE network that covers 131 towns and cities, approximately 60 per cent of the population.

The company competes with Vodafone UK and O2 UK on the LTE market, with 3 UK set to launch its first LTE services in December.

For more:
- see this EE release

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