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EE to double 4G download speeds as UK LTE battle heats up

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Having already enjoyed seven months as the UK's only LTE operator, EE has laid out the next phase of its plans to retain customers ahead of entry into the 4G market by its carrier rivals. Speaking at an event in London today, EE CEO Olaf Swantee announced that the carrier will boost the speed and capacity of its 4G network, doubling both the absolute top speed on EE's networks to over 80Mbps and average speed to over 20Mbps. Plans and prices will remain the same.

EE's top speeds will double to over 80Mbps, average speeds to reach 20Mbps

Anticipating an ever-increasing demand for more mobile data, EE says it will double the capacity of its 1800MHz spectrum to 20MHz, offering faster speeds to customers in 10 LTE-enabled cities by June. Subscribers in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Sheffield will be the first to see the upgrade. Acquiring parts of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum in the recent Ofcom-controlled UK 4G auction, EE says it will also trial carrier aggregation to combine spectrum from its different bands, enabling it to deliver more 4G bandwidth than any of its UK competitors.

With Vodafone, O2, and Three working to launch their own LTE services in the coming months, EE believes it can stay ahead by offering faster speeds to more people across the UK. Despite having the UK LTE market to itself for more than half a year, consumers have been slow to migrate to EE from their existing 3G contracts. EE says it is targeting its millionth LTE customer by Christmas (that's less than 4 percent of the company's 26 million mobile customers announced on January 1st). It will hope that new services like Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and dual-video and voice calls over 4G/LTE (VoLTE) will lure in customers, but also stop them from joining its rivals.