The UK’s first 4G LTE network has been announced, signalling the beginning of the roll-out of faster mobile data services.
Rebranding itself as EE, the firm formerly known as Everything Everywhere (an amalgamation between Orange and T-Mobile) has unveiled its plans to bring a 4G service to Britain at an event at London’s Science Museum this morning. The newly named company will also be launching a fibre-optic broadband service along with its 4G mobile network.
While 4G LTE is an evolution of existing 3G networks it offers a faster service which can have marked differences on that which preceded it. The speed at which a mobile device can communicate with its related network and download or upload data is increased greatly when connected to 4G LTE and today’s announcement could see the streaming of HD video and other data-heavy uses becoming much easier.
Currently, much UK network coverage uses HSPA+, one of the latest versions of the technologies which are collectively known as 3G. HSPA+ has a theoretical maximum download speed of 21Mbps, but actual speeds experienced by mobile users connected to the network are much lower, with 2.1Mbps being the UK average.
However, several networks such as O2 and Vodafone have rolled out limited services of an even later 3G technology known as DC-HSPA which can achieve theoretical speeds of up to 42Mbps, depending on the network. While these speeds are again theoretical, it is likely that users have experienced speeds faster than they would have with the earlier HSPA+ networks.
Today’s announcement from EE will see faster speeds being made available to UK mobile users. Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, told the assembled crowd at the Science Museum: “London will be the first major European city to be covered by 4G.
“We plan to have 4G services available to 20 million in the UK. The EE network will cover 70 per cent by 2013, 90 per cent of UK by 2014.”
We’ve compiled the speeds at which current UK 3G networks perform and compared them to the service EE has confirmed will be available with its new 4G LTE network.
DC-HSPA (Vodafone) 28.8Mbps
DC-HSPA (O2) 42Mbps
|Speeds up to 5x faster than 3G|
|UK average is 2.1Mbps||Speeds up to 5x faster than 3G|
|UK Coverage||73% of UK homes covered by all networks.
99% of UK homes covered by at least one network
|70% of UK homes by 2013
90% of UK homes by 2014