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EE flips the switch on its faster 4G network in London

Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
October 30, 2014
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EE's been conducting closed trials of LTE-Advanced technology since last year, so imagine the red faces when Vodafone reported earlier this month that its own faster 4G network was about to go live in three cities. EE's now being forced to play catch-up, but it's well on its way today after flipping its LTE-A network live in parts of central London, including Kensington, Old Street, Shoreditch, Soho, Southbank and Westminster. This 4G+ network, as EE brands it, should cover the whole of Greater London by the middle of next year, before rolling out to other big cities like Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester later. While standard LTE can deliver a theoretical maximum download speed of 150 Mbps, LTE-A doubles that to a maximum speed of 300 Mbps (though real-world speeds tend to be around half the max).

In EE's case, this is achieved by combining spectrum from the 2.6GHz band with its existing 1800MHz network (a process known as carrier aggregation). While everyone should see speed improvements due to increased network capacity, only smartphones with a Cat 6 LTE radio capable of tuning into the 2.6GHz band will be able to enjoy the top speeds. Currently, the only Cat 6 devices EE have to offer are the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4, though there are compatible handsets available to buy elsewhere.

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