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EE 4G To Cover 35 UK Cities By March 2013

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EE 4G to reach 18 cities by the end of 2012 with network density improvements also promised

The EE 4G network will be extended to another 17 towns by March 2013 with the operator improving network density in the existing 14 4G-covered cities.

Derby, Newcastle and Nottingham were added to the LTE network last week, with Belfast, Hull, Maidenhead and Slough due to be switched on before the end of 2012. This will take the total to 18 EE 4G-covered cities, two more than the target of 16 set when the service launched on 30 October.

The other 11 cities are London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Southampton and Glasgow.

These will be joined next year by Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, covering an additional four million people in the UK.

EE 4G cities expanding

“I am delighted that the 4G network will be going live in Leicester in early 2013,” said Councillor Rory Palmer, deputy city mayor of Leicester. “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.”

“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,” added Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE. “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.”

Network density improvements

EE has also promised to improve its 4G network so that users will have connectivity wherever they are travelling in a connected city. This follows reports that EE 4G covered just 40 percent of Manchester, one of the launch locations.

This will be achieved by doubling the number of masts on a daily basis until the EE 4G network matches that of its 2G and 3G services. EE also hopes this will improve capacity as more and more customers sign up for its LTE service.

The operator also plans to improve its mobile backhaul, the part of the network that connects masts to core servers, with gigabit Ethernet capacity. 3G customers will also benefit as EE continues its rollout of DC-HSPA, which should be live on around 40 percent of the network by the end of the year.

EE 4G is the UK’s only current LTE network as it was given permission by Ofcom to use its existing spectrum. Rival operators should launch competing services next year, following the conclusion of the 4G spectrum auction, which started yesterday.

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