EE ups the 4G game

A daily commute

If you’re a customer of EE on a 4G cellular service plan, you’ll relish the latest news from the UK’s only mobile operator with a commercial 4G service.

EE announced today that it is doubling the speed and capacity of its 4G network that, the company says, will boost headline 4G speeds to 80Mbps plus, and double the average speeds for 4GEE customers to more than 20Mbps.

EE says double-speed 4G will initially be available in ten cities by the summer: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

If you’re like me, what you’re interested in knowing is what does that mean in your daily use of your 4G-capable mobile device on EE’s 4G network?

Here’s how EE describes it:

What it means for 4GEE consumer and business customers

With double-speed 4G for mobile broadband and smartphones:

  • Pictures can be uploaded and downloaded in HD, on larger screens, with greater resolution.
  • HD video can be uploaded and shared, and peer-to-peer video can be pin-point sharp and viewed with zero delay.
  • Multi-tasking on the move can become even quicker, with support for image and video-heavy online shopping, while uploading to Facebook and downloading an HD video.
  • ‘Always on’ technology, constantly taking in and sharing information from what we’re seeing and doing, can be supported.
  • Files so large that they previously required a fibre connection can be uploaded and shared, or stored in the cloud – all on the move from a mobile device, revolutionising working practices for content-heavy businesses.
  • A truly mobile office can be a reality, with smartphones, tablets and laptops connected by a 4G Mobile Wi-Fi device, serviced by average speeds around 20Mbps.
  • Streaming an HD video while uploading a presentation and speaking on a video conference call over IP, all in real time on mobile.

4G cellular service has now been available in the UK for about six months after EE  – the combination of Orange and T-Mobile – launched its service, dubbed 4GEE.

As a user myself of some of EE’s products on its 4G network – first, a Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE smartphone and, most recently, a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE tablet courtesy of EE and the ambassador programme I’m participating in – the most significant aspect of it clearly is how it enables you to get things done faster.

You may have seen some of EE’s TV ads featuring Hollywood actor Kevin Bacon. Mixed opinions about the ads and Bacon abound. I like them, though: this one, for instance, from last November, very apt in light of today’s announcement about faster speeds:

(If you don’t see the video embedded above, watch it at YouTube.)

EE’s 4G service is currently available in 50 UK towns and cities across the UK: Amersham, Barnsley, Belfast, Bingley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford , Bristol, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Chorley, Coventry, Derby, Doncaster, Dudley, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Harpenden, Hemel Hempstead, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Liverpool, London, Loughborough, Luton, Maidenhead, Manchester, Newbury, Newcastle, Newport, Nottingham, Preston, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Shipley, Slough, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, St Albans, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Telford, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

EE says it’s aiming for 98 percent of the UK population to be covered by the end of 2014.

Soon, EE’s competitors in the UK will be rolling out their own 4G services. That’s when things will get really interesting in the mobile market in the UK from a business and a consumer perspective – what it all lets you do (faster), and how much it will cost to do it. Meanwhile, EE has a head start and is clearly intending to extend its footprint to maximize its first-mover advantage.

Read EE’s full announcement in their press release, embedded below (or see it in EE’s online newsroom).

(Picture at top of page courtesy CNET.)

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About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.