EE switch on 4G+ in Cardiff and London, claim 'fastest ever' speeds

EE 4G getting boost from old 2G spectrum – here’s how

EE 4G is going to get even faster as the company buffs up a section of its old 2G spectrum for its newest customers.

Upload speeds could double from 50Mbps to 100Mbps with the upgrade, far faster than most home broadband packages and close to the theoretical maximum for the latest ‘Cat 12’ smartphones.

In reality it means it’ll be much quicker to share work files on the go or post social media updates and videos with less delay.

More than 600 sites including across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff will be upgraded to 4G spectrum over the next six months.

EE has an embarrassment of riches in the 4G space for both mobile and broadband.

Its 4G+ network clocked 429Mbps, the fastest average data speeds in the country thus far when it launched in Cardiff and London earlier this year.

Now over 1000 sites support Cat 9 speeds of up to 450Mbps, and EE 4G covers more than 85% of the UK.

EE sites across the country are being upgraded to support the newest smartphones, like the Google Pixel XL, that can support data transfer speeds of 600Mbits per second.

Cat or Category 12 phones include the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus, the Xiomi Mi5 and the LG G6.

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Marc Allera, EE CEO, said: “We keep investing in our network, and using our technology leadership to make sure customers are getting the most out of the latest smartphones. Customers need to be on 4G, getting the best out of their new devices with the highest quality phone calls and the fastest mobile data speeds. We’re converting 2G into 4G, because that’s what our customers need.”

With the latest smartphones smashing records for data transfer, mobile providers are having to offer more and more space to users who want to stream and download constantly.

The previous highest level of data transfer possible on a mass-market phone was Cat 9, or 450MBits per second. Phones in this grouping include the HTC 10, Apple iPhone 7 and 7Plus, and the Galaxy S7.

As of September 2017 the Samsung Galaxy S8 is actually the fastest device on the open market with a Cat 16 rating.

Technically the phone should be able to transfer data at speeds approaching 1000Mbps, but the UK doesn’t have the infrastructure for this yet and mobile masts will have to improve to a 5G level.

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The way that EE are opening up the spectrum is, according to a news release, re-allocating part of the 1800Mhz spectrum to convert old 2G airwaves into superfast 4G, thereby driving the fastest mobile data speeds.

Effectively EE are moving around 10MHz of their 1800MHz spectrum from 2G to serve 4G data requests. EE’s sites are equipped with 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum, and 35MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum.

EE has also invested in 4×4 MIMO, which sends and receives four signals instead of two, making the spectrum twice as efficient. EE is also rolling out 256QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) technology, which increases the efficiency of the spectrum.


Tom is a tech journalist and Editor at
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