EE, the UK’s largest cellco, has launched in London its cellular 4G+ service (also known as LTE-Advanced), which according to EE allows for “real world mobile data speeds of 150 Mbps to a smartphone.” and calls it “even faster than fibre-based broadband.” EE plans to make it available in 2015 in greater London and other major UK cities such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
EE currently offers two 4G+ capable devices: Samsung Alpha and the Samsung Note 4.
EE: “Customers will see speeds as high as 150 Mbps”
EE said, “Mobile data speeds in 4G+ areas will regularly be up to 90 Mbps, and customers will see speeds as high as 150 Mbps for users with a compatible device on a 4GEE Extra or Corporate 4GEE plan. The theoretical maximum speed is 300 Mbps.
EE said the additional airwaves used for 4G+ add new capacity for all EE customers — like adding extra lanes to a motorway.
EE’s slower than 4G+ but still fast Double Speed 4G, which it’s also expanding throughout the UK, provides wireless broadband speeds up to 60 Mbps.
It’s currently available in 20 locations that have more than 35 million residents — 50% of the UK population, and will be expanded to cover 20 more large towns and cities by the end of the year.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee said, “The UK is now back to being a world leader in mobile networks. Just two years we were behind every developed market from the US to Japan. We’ve invested in innovation, driven competition and given people in London a mobile network that’s faster than almost any other in the world, and even faster than most fiber broadband available here.”
90 Mbps Is Not Faster than Fibre & Cellular Bandwidth Is Shared by All Users Connected to the Same Cell
EE is to be commended for its 90 Mbps mobile speeds that will be available regularly — and its subscribers will love them for it.
However, 90 Mbps is not fibre speeds. The all-fibre networks that a few telcos and cablecos (and Google) are building are capable of 1 Gbps and higher speeds. Most people say that “fibre broadband” means an all-fibre network — all the way to the residence. But the definition of “fibre broadband” is different in the UK because BT calls its hybrid fibre-to-the-neighbourhood/copper-to-the-home broadband network fibre — and perhaps coincidentally BT says it achieves speeds in the 80 to 100 Mbps range. Perhaps that’s where EE got its comparison numbers.
Also, subscribers on all-fibre and even on telcos’ hybrid fibre/copper networks do not share bandwidth with others in the neighbourhood as they do with cellular and cable TV services. When the phone company promises 80 Mbps, the user gets 80 Mbps unless there is some network failure. When a cellco says 90 Mbps, that’s assuming no other cell phone is connected to the same cell. If 100 people on the same cell started watching UHD movies simultaneously, each person’s speed would drop dramatically.
The 4K Connection
As we have seen so many times recently in an announcement about broadband or home networking, EE used the coming of 4K as justification. EE CTO Fotis Karonis said, “We’re building a network for the future. We’re making sure that there is enough speed, enabled by enough capacity, to let our growing 4GEE customer base do all the amazing things that are just breaking through now — 4K video over 4G, wearable technology and increasingly sophisticated mobile business apps..
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