EE refarming 10MHz of 2G spectrum to unlock new smartphones’ potential
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

EE is giving more than 600 of its sites across cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff a boost over the next six months by allowing them to use additional spectrum for 4G services.

This extra spectrum comes from refarming 10MHz of 1800MHz spectrum from 2G to 4G and will be used to further increase speeds and reliability.

The upgrade will allow the sites to support the next wave of mobile devices to hit the UK market, equipped with ‘Cat 12’ and ‘Cat 16’ modems, allowing new smartphone users to get the most from their devices.The programme of upgrades will also double the phones’ data upload speeds from the current maximum of 50Mbps to 100Mbps on more than 900 sites across the UK.

EE’s fastest mobile sites currently use 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum, and 35MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum. EE has also invested in 4x4 MIMO, which sends and receives four signals instead of two, making the spectrum twice as efficient. EE is also rolling out 256QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) technology, which increases the efficiency of the spectrum.

Marc Allera, EE’s CEO, said: “We keep investing in our network, and using our technology leadership to make sure customers are getting the most out of the latest smartphones. Customers need to be on 4G, getting the best out of their new devices with the highest quality phone calls and the fastest mobile data speeds. We’re converting 2G into 4G, because that’s what our customers need. So, if you are choosing a new smartphone, the message is simple: there’s only one UK network that offers the best smartphone experience.”

EE’s 4G network now provides more than 85 per cent geographical coverage in the UK (equal to more than 99 per cent of the UK’s population)and the company is seeking to extend this to 95 per cent by 2020. According to RootMetrics, EE is the best network for video in London. The MNO claims to have the largest 4G+ footprint for both ‘Cat 6’ – in the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone 6s – and ‘Cat 9’ modems – in the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8 and Apple iPhone 7, allowing customers to get faster speeds on their handsets in more places across the UK.

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