The adoption of an improved version of 4G by some UK mobile operators means that many of us could soon be enjoying faster browsing speeds.
Dubbed 4G+ by EE, and 4.5G by competitors Vodafone, the new technology is capable of achieving up to 150 mbps. As we’ve come to expect, it is unlikely customers will actually reach those kinds of speeds. 90 mbps is a more realistic prediction, and still much faster than existing 4G networks.
The rollout will be slow, initially only applicable to two handsets; Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Note 4. EE has stated that 150 sites across central London will be the first to enjoy the new speeds, and the rest of the capital should be upgraded by June 2015. Work to provide similar benefits to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester will begin next year.
EE said “on top of our existing 1800MHz spectrum layer, we’ve added a layer of 2.6GHz spectrum and configured our network to enable downlink carrier aggregation. This is the primary feature of LTE-Advanced – and we’re calling it 4G+. Some of Europe’s other top operators, like Swisscom, SFR and Bouygues, as well as Optus in Australia, are already using the term 4G+ for this first stage of carrier aggregation.”
Vodafone began to rollout the new 4G technology in October across three cities – London, Birmingham and Manchester. A spokesperson said that more cities will be added throughout 2015. Despite the select few handsets capable of fully utilising the new technology, it has been revealed that other 4G customers should see improved browsing speeds as a knock on effect of expanding the network’s general capacity.
Mobile expert at USwitch, Ernest Doki said “We may eventually see the same tech deliver speeds faster than the fixed line broadband in the UK, which could be a life-changing concept for those people stranded by a painfully slow rural rollout”.
The announcement comes as welcome news after recent research damned UK mobile networks for their poor coverage, and heavy reliance on old 2G networks, particularly in rural areas.