EE brings LTE-Advanced to London, passes six million 4G customers

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EE has switched on its LTE Advanced network, offering speeds of up to 150MBps to consumers with compatible handsets across central London.

The UK operator has aggregated 20MHz of spectrum in its 1800MHz and previously unused 2.6GHz holdings. By making the 2.6GHz of spectrum available, EE said it has doubled its capacity across the UK's capital. Data speeds in these areas will "regularly" reach 90MBps.

However, while one-sixth of handsets globally are compatible with using the Category 6 technology, EE is only offering it on the two handsets it ranges - the Samsung Alpha and Samsung Note 4.

The operator said it has "tens of thousands" of customers using these devices and plans to replace the current version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 with the LTE-A variant by the end of this year.

As well as owning a compatible device, customers have to subscribe to either the operator's 4GEE Extra or Corporate 4GEE plans. The likes of Shoreditch, South Bank, Soho, Westminster and Kensington are covered by the network, with plans to extend it across central London by June 2015 and then onto the UK's largest cities.

EE said the expanded network will also extend capacity to consumers not using Category 6 devices, likening the Category 6 network to adding an extra lane onto a motorway.

Fotis Karonis, CTO at EE, commented: “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. Capacity is the lifeblood of a good mobile service, and we’re adding more here to give our customers the best possible mobile experience, now and into the future.”

Meanwhile, the operator revealed it was extending its double speed 4G service to another 20 towns by the end of the year, bringing speeds of up to 60MBps to more than 35 million people.

It added that it has signed up its six millionth customer to 4G, beating its year-end target by two months. LTE is now available in 300 towns and cities across the UK, covering more than 75 percent of the population. It launched 4G in the UK in October 2012.

Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, said: “The UK is now back to being a world leader in mobile networks. Just two years since 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 fibre broadband available here.

“We’re now the largest 4G network in Europe, but it doesn’t stop here. We’ll keep investing to make sure that all our customers can get access to the great mobile technology that can make a real difference to the way they live their digital lives.”

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