EE has announced plans to launch a fixed location 4G broadband service for the home.
Building on successful trials of a similar service in Cumbria, this will allow customers not yet covered by BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) projects or BT’s commercial rollout to access superfast speeds.
Since launch 4G in October 2012, EE announced a speed doubling programme that saw the top download speeds jumping from 40Mbps to 80Mbps. The top speed theoretically possible on the network is currently 150Mbps.
Read our guides to 4G in the UK and the 4G Spectrum Auction ResultsAlthough these top speeds are only really possible in lab conditions, a recent survey revealed that the average speed enjoyed by EE customers is 22.7Mbps. The maximum download speed attained on the 4G network weighed in at 79.1Mbps.
These speeds are comfortably above the UK’s national average and could be transformative by those waiting for FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) to arrive in their area and life the out of the single-figure Mbps slums.
CEO of EE Olaf Swantee says: “One year after launch, we’ve extended the world’s fastest network across 60 per cent of the United Kingdom. But we want to bring the power of 4GEE to even more people.”
“Whether they want the flexibility of pay as you go, the UK’s most affordable monthly plans, or to
make the most from their smartphone with the world’s fastest speeds and biggest data bundles, EE is
the number one 4G network.”
Thanks to the government’s £150 million Mobile Infrastructure Plan combined with EE’s own rollout rural customers might not have so long to wait for superfast, but its unlikely everyone in the sticks will be able to sign up for this in November.
EE 4G: Greater coverage, faster speeds
EE says it’s on track to have 98 per cent of the UK’s population covered by the end of 2014, a year before the other networks are set to acheive similar coverage. The finish date for BDUK has been pushed back to the end of 2016, meaning rural families and businesses are facing years without superfast.
As well as increasing coverage, EE announced plans to speed double again, this time up to 300Mbps. A trial of the new service will kick off in London this November, when the 4G home broadband service launches.
It’s not known if the 4G home devices will be retroactively compatible with these speeds, should the trial be successful. When EE launched its 150Mbps speed boost, we reported how only devices with LTE Category 4 antennas, like the Huawei Ascend P2 and EE’s own Huawei-made dongle would be able to access these top speeds. It’s expected that only devices equipped with LTE Category 5 radios will be capable of receiving speeds of up to 300Mbps.
The finer technical details are not yet known. An EE spokesperson said: “in November, EE will extend the reach of 4G even further, by introducing 4G powered home broadband products and plans tailored for areas of the country not served by superfast fixed broadband technology. Further details on the plans will be announced in due course.”
Once the trial of 300Mbps is complete, rollout across the UK will begin. Thanks to a deal announced earlier this year, London’s Tech City will be the first location to benefit from the speed upgrade before the provinces get a look in.