Just when you thought you’d got the latest and fastest phone, connected to the fastest network, they go and upgrade the network. Today, EE – the UK’s largest 4G LTE network – partnered with Huawei to launch EE 4G LTE-A (short for Advanced) which claims to reach mobile browsing speeds of up to 300mbs.
EE 4G LTE-A:
So far, the launch is confined to the Tech City (Shoreditch) portion of East London. Real world trials will start on December 1st, with views of expanding the new Advanced network to the rest of London throughout 2014. Companies in the Tech City area will be approached to partner up with EE and Huawei to trial the EE 4G LTE-A band.
Why do we need another band of 4G? In most cases, it won’t make much difference to the average consumer. Basic 4G LTE speeds will easily satisfy the majority of consumers who want to stream TV, music or download data fast. The advantage of EE 4G LTE-A is that it will allow companies to stream 4K TV with the use of a small 4G LTE-A router rather than a massive and expensive Satelite truck, connection and generators. The EE press release states that their research shows that mobile data usage will increase by 750% in the next three years. The main reason for this is the addition of more and more connected devices. Think of the average commuter, they will most likely have several phones and tablets (business and personal), maybe several laptops and a WiFi hotspot to connect them all together. Add to this the expansion of wearable media (such as smart watches, Google Glass etc) and it’s easy to see how EE came to this figure. EE 4G LTE-A will be able to support this increase as it uses a wider spectrum of frequencies bought earlier this year by EE when OfComm sold off the old terrestrial bandwidth.
If this is still hard to understand, EE shows some basic figures: The next big thing in digital entertainment will be 4k TV’s (or Ultra High Definition). I won’t go into too much detail about 4K resolutions here, but you can read a very good explanation of it in the first chapter of the relevant wikipedia entry.
Getting back to the figures: BBC’s iPlayer streams at 5mbs. 4K TV will stream at 20mbs, which is why EE 4G LTE-A will be able to support it and aid media companies in streaming live reports over 4G.
Huawei state they will release their first EE 4G LTE-A device in the second quarter of next year, allowing people to connect to the network when it becomes commercially available.
In case you didn’t know what Tech City is (or is) then it’s the Tech equivalent of The Docklands for finance. Effectivaly, many technology companies all situated in a very small geographic area. These range from the giants like Google and 7Digital to airbnb and Miniclip to brand new startups. Visit this website for a fascinating real time map of tweets and interactions from this part of London. You’d be surprised who is there.