Potential 4G adopters in the UK not only need to consider the price of EE's plans, but also the thin coverage currently available. This is slowly being fattened up, however, and today the company has announced that by March 2013, it plans to extend its high-speed network to an additional 17 areas (to make a grand total of 35). Those 17 towns and cities don't include last week's stealthy activations in Derby , Newcastle and Nottingham, or the planned switch-flipping in Belfast , Hull , Maidenhead and Slough before the end of the year. As well as gracing new locations with 4G and bolstering network density, EE is also upgrading its 3G network to support dual-channel HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+ for short). This is expected to be available across 40 percent of EE's network by year's end, and will also be enjoyed by customers signed up with Orange or T-Mobile. So, enough of the suspense -- head past the break for the full list of locales getting 4G early next year.
Areas receiving 4G in Q1 2013:
- St. Albans
- Sutton Coldfield
- West Bromwich
EE CONTINUES 4G ROLLOUT WITH 17 NEW TOWNS AND CITIES TO BE SWITCHED ON BY MARCH 2013
- 4G being switched on in Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, bringing superfast mobile to more consumers and businesses
- Ongoing investment to increase network density in launch cities to further increase availability of 4G for users across metropolitan areas
- EE is turbo-charging 3G, with speeds already increased across 40% of the EE network using DC-HSPA – the fastest available 3G technology
December 13, 2012 – EE, the UK's most advanced digital communications company, today announced that 4G will be switched on in a further 17 towns and cities across the country by March 2013. As well as investing in bringing superfast mobile to new areas around the UK, network density is being rapidly increased in existing 4G launch cities to continue to improve the speed and reach of the UK's first 4G network.
In the first three months of 2013, 4G will be launched in Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, bringing 4G coverage to approximately four million more people across the UK. Last week, 4G was switched on in Derby, Newcastle and Nottingham; Belfast, Hull, Maidenhead and Slough will be switched on before the end of 2012. This brings the total of 4G launches in 2012 to 18, ahead of the schedule of 16.
Councillor Rory Palmer, Deputy City Mayor of Leicester, which is due to be switched on in early 2013, said: "I am delighted that the 4G network will be going live in Leicester in early 2013. EE clearly recognises that Leicester is a city that will benefit significantly from 4G mobile coverage - superfast mobile internet will have real benefits for our residents, homes and businesses across the city."
Superfast 4G mobile is approximately five times faster than 3G. 4G mobile customers will be able to access the web on the go in an instant, download large email attachments quicker than ever, watch live TV on mobiles without buffering, make high quality video calls on the move and play live multiplayer games on the go. EE customers have access to a wide range of mobile handsets, tablets and mobile Wi-Fi devices, including iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, iPad mini, and Huawei Mobile Wi-Fi.
Olaf Swantee, Chief Executive Officer, EE, said:
"By the end of the first quarter of 2013, 4G will be available in 35 towns and cities across the UK, making superfast mobile accessible to thousands more customers and businesses every day. We're delighted with the progress of the 4G rollout – we are improving the network every day, delivering superfast mobile to more and more people right across metropolitan areas, whether they're using their devices outdoors or in their homes and offices. This has struck a chord with businesses in particular, with great demand being seen. We're delighted to already be powering large, medium and small businesses with 4G."
Increasing network density
Through ongoing investment in the 4G network, EE is not only bringing superfast speeds to more parts of the UK, but also continuing to make 4G even more widely available across metropolitan areas. Users will find they have access to 4G wherever they travel around their city, and during their commutes to work. This continued investment is enabling businesses and consumers to have the full, superfast 4G experience of web, social media, email and multi-media wherever they are.
Network density* is being increased on a daily basis by enabling 4G on an increasing number of masts. Engineering work continues in each area until the 4G coverage matches that of the EE 2G and 3G network. As well as increasing capacity to meet the demand from thousands of new customers signing up to 4GEE, this ensures that 4G is available throughout an entire area with strong voice and data service available indoors.
The EE network's mobile backhaul – the part of the network that connects each mast into the core network servers – is also being updated to support superfast speeds. 3G and 4G masts across the UK are being connected with Gigabit Ethernet capacity to deliver the highest standard of mobile backhaul, ensuring a great quality of experience, high speed and low latency, which is vital for applications such as multiplayer mobile gaming, and streaming of multimedia content.
Independent network testing
The high performance of the EE 3G and 4G networks, both indoor and outdoor, was proven by independent testing in Manchester city centre in November by independent mobile performance measurement company RootMetrics:
- EE averaged 17.0Mbps download speed on 4G
- The average download speed indoors was 9.7Mbps; average upload speed indoors was 5.1Mbps
- The average download speed, on both 3G and 4G, across the Manchester area was 7.6Mbps; average upload speed was 3.9Mbps – more than twice as fast as the next fastest network
Continued investment in 3G, introducing DC-HSPA
As well as investing in rolling out a broader, denser 4G network, EE is significantly increasing speeds on its 3G network by upgrading to DC-HSPA. By the end of 2012, this variant of 3G – the fastest available in the UK – will be live on 40% of the EE network, and accessible for EE, Orange and T-Mobile customers with a compatible handset.
The top 4G LTE devices also support DC-HSPA, offering the best of both networks. HSPA+ is supported by a broad range of smartphones, tablets and dongles, and is available across the EE network.