12 September 2017
| James Pearce
Over the next six months, the UK’s largest operator will convert sites in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff, in order to support mobile devices running on Cat 12 and Cat 16 modems.
The upgrade will double the output on these sites, with
upload speeds expected to rise from a maximum of 50Mbps up to
100Mbps on relevant smartphones. EE claims the number of these
devices in use is set to boom in 2017.
The operator will refarm 10MHz of 1800MHz spectrum from 2G
to 4G as part of the upgrade, whilst also deploying 4x4 MIMO
and 256QAM technology in order to increase the efficiency of
The move will see EE expand its UK footprint of 4G+ sites,
which support Cat 9 speeds of above 400Mbps, to more than 1,000
Marc Allera, EE 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
The move is similar to a number of operators in other
markets who have refarmed, or in some cases shut off, their 2G
networks. AT&T did this at the start of the year, while
T-Mobile US has also said it will switch off 2G. Mobile
operators are desperately seeking ways to boost 4G spectrum
holdings in order to compete with greater demand for data.