updated 06:15 am EDT, Tue April 9, 2013
Carrier to test 4G connections over multiple bands
British carrier EE is planning to double its spectrum allocation and increase its 4G speed in the country, before other phone networks are able to launch their own 4G LTE offerings. It plans to roll out its expanded spectrum service to 10 cities by June, and to trial carrier aggregation in an effort to provide even more bandwidth to its service.
Current spectrum allocations of two 10MHz ranges in the 1800MHz band will become two 20MHz ranges, which according to the carrier will help boost its download speeds to 80Mbps and double the current average speed to 20Mbps. Subscribers in Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Sheffield will join Cardiff, where network testing took place, in receiving the faster speeds.
After picking up 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum in the Ofcom auction, EE will be attempting to trial carrier aggregation, a fundamental part of LTE-Advanced that combines spectrum over multiple bands for a higher-bandwidth service. EE will be looking towards adding other services to its roster, including Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and providing video and voice calls over LTE (VoLTE).
Vodafone, O2, and Three are also launching their own 4G services after picking up spectrum in the auction. Niche Spectrum Ventures, an unknown carrier that is a subsidiary of British Telecom, also gained some spectrum, though it is unclear for what purpose.