Olaf Swantee announces 300Mbps LTE Advanced network for Tech City and says the UK is catching up in 4G race
EE has revealed plans to rollout LTE Advanced (LTE-A) in London as part of plans to cope with the anticipated explosion in mobile data traffic as consumers use new services and businesses migrate to ‘heavy cloud’ applications.
Speaking at the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London, EE CEO Olaf Swantee says the LTE-A network would initially be available in Tech City before expanding to other parts of the city between the north and south circulars next year.
LTE-A allows for carrier aggregation, which allows EE to use its 1800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum to achieve speeds of up to 300Mbps, but Swantee claims the fastest speed achieved so far is 296Mbps, which to his knowledge is unmatched by any other 4G network in the world.
“It is absolutely essential to deliver these types of speeds and capacities,” adds Swantee, who says LTE-A heralds the start of the “next age of 4G,” which will require people and enterprises to always be connected, especially as they deploy SAP and applications with a focus on mobile.
Swantee says the presence of the network will allow startups in Tech City to compete with Silicon Valley, and will invite them to participate once the first compatible devices become available next year.
The first devices will be routers, as they are the only products that can currently cope with the heat generated by the technology, with Mobile Wi-Fi devices and smartphones following before the end of 2014.
The rollout of LTE-A will create 1,000 project roles over the next three years and forms part of EE’s continued investment of £1.4 million every day on its network. LTE-A should also improve EE’s 2G and 3G network as it means more data is being moved onto its LTE service, but there is no mention of Voice over LTE (VoLTE), which it is predicted will become more mainstream next year.
EE 4G saviour
“EE will continue to offer the best network here in the UK,” says Swantee, who boasts that it is only because of the operator’s vast amount of spectrum that it will be able to offer such services. EE currently holds 36 percent of the available airwaves in the UK, and claims its rivals, such as Vodafone, EE, and Three, will be unable to cope with the increased demand.
Swantee adds that the launch of EE 4G a year ago was a “momentous occasion” for the UK, which he says had slipped behind the US and Asia in terms of LTE development and that its rollout had been one of the fastest in the UK, confirming that the next two towns to receive the service will be Bath and Chester later this week.
He also pointed out to the fact that EE now had one million 4G subscribers as evidence that the UK has always been a market geared towards mobile, and says one in three SMBs is now choosing LTE when they sign up with the operator.
“We have turned the situation around in the UK,” he boasts.
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