BT’s EE said its customers could hit UK record real world download speeds of over 400Mb/s with the launch of its 4G+ service.
The operator switched on the service in Cardiff and parts of London this week and plans to expand its reach to more of the capital, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh during 2017.
In a test of the new system, EE said it recorded a peak download speed of 429Mb/s – a UK best – but warned customers could only access this level on a Category-16 smartphone optimised to its network. Currently, only the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is compatible, and users of other handsets are expected to experience speeds around 50Mb/s.
EE’s next generation 4G relies on increased efficiency of its blocks of 1800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum. It uses 4×4 MIMO and broadcasts the signal using 256QAM technology.
Although EE is now working on expanding its 4G+ service, around 20 per cent of the UK is still without access to the company’s standard 4G coverage, a figure it plans to reduce to 5 per cent by the end of 2020.
Though eager to vaunt the technical improvements to its network, the operator appears to have some consumer perception issues within the UK.
The operator ranked in joint last place in a recent report from consumer group Which? into customer satisfaction of the UK’s telecoms companies – alongside Vodafone – with a rating of 50 per cent. The study took into account the views of over 4,000 consumers who rated customer service, value for money and incentives.
Discussing the result an EE company representative pointed towards the survey not taking into account the quality of its network.
In a statement, the company said: “Getting a good 4G connection is one of the most important factors for consumers, so it’s disappointing that these ratings don’t take network performance into account.
“Which?’s own report shows that only EE customers get the fastest 4G connection in the UK, and are on 4G more of the time than any other network. The latest data from Ofcom shows that EE has improved customer service and receives the third-fewest complaints in the mobile industry.
“We’re continuing to work incredibly hard to provide the best mobile experience in the UK by rolling out 4G to more places in the UK than any other network.”