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EE begins 3G switch off to boost LTE network


EE is refarming its 2.1GHz 3G band to boost its LTE network in data heavy cities across the UK.

It is aiming to bring additional 4G capacity to more than 500 towers over the next six months in the likes of London, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Once the refarming is complete, EE will offer LTE across five carriers, which is more than any other operator in the UK. The move will deliver faster LTE speeds, as well as a more reliable network, it claimed.

EE said that 3G usage is nosediving, with customers making more calls on voice over LTE than on 3G for the first time.

The operator was the first to launch LTE in the United Kingdom, with services going live in 2012.

According to its latest figures, its LTE network covers 90 percent of the UK's landmass. It is targeting 95 percent geographical coverage by 2020.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer business [pictured], said: “Our customers want a fast and reliable 4G connection, and that’s what we’re working to give them.

"We are using the investment we made in 3G spectrum nearly 15 years ago to give customers today a great experience with the latest smartphones on 4G, and build our foundation for 5G in 2019.

"We’re constantly evolving, and the customer experience of 5G will be dictated by the quality of the 4G network underneath.”

The operator has earmarked the autumn for its 5G trials, when it will switch on 10 sites in east London.

It is aiming to explore how 5G will be used in residential and enterprise use cases by connecting five households and five businesses.