Successful trial of next-generation 4G by EE sees major speed boost

A successful trial of category 9 LTE - the technical term for next-generation 4G, more or less - by UK mobile network EE, US computer chip manufacturer Qualcomm and Chinese telecoms company Huawei has produced download speeds of up to 410Mb.

While that's unlikely to reflect what you'd get in real life, the trial suggests the technology could provide be even faster than EE's category 4 LTE-Advanced network - known as 4G+ - which offers speeds of up to 150Mb, catering for the increasingly data-heavy tasks performed on smartphones and tablets.

EE is set to increase the capacity and speed of its network following the trials. It'll reportedly do this by using carrier aggregation, which basically means it will combine radio spectrum from different frequencies to provide faster speeds.

Tom Bennett, director of network services and devices at EE, said: "Working closely with the excellent teams at Qualcomm Technologies and Huawei on the next generation LTE Category 9 connectivity enables us to make full use of our spectrum holdings, and continue to offer world class network capabilities, innovating to stay one step ahead of operators in Europe."

Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president of Qualcomm Europe, added: "Transitioning from Category 6 to Category 9 LTE-A connectivity will mean one and half times faster peak download speeds, swift application response times, reliable connectivity and connections to the fastest networks."

EE currently provides the fastest mobile internet in five of the biggest cities in the UK, according to communications watchers Ofcom, delivering an average download speed of 18.4Mb - just under the national average for broadband - to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Manchester.

To find out if you can EE 4G+, use the coverage checker at www.ee.co.uk. Remember to check what the coverage is like where you work and anywhere else you regularly go, as well as where you live.

Sources: CNet UK, TechWeekEurope UK

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