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2G or not 2G; EE finally answers the age-old question

Vintage Still Life

EE has announced it will upgrade 600 sites across the country to shut down some of its 2G airwaves to make 4G stronger in certain regions.

The sites, which are located across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff, will be upgraded with the latest 4G spectrum over the next six months. The same sites will also be upgraded to support ‘Cat 12’ and ‘Cat 16’ modems, which are going to feature in the latest wave of flagship smartphones over the next few months.

In theory, with the new upgrades the sites will be able to support download speeds of 100 Mbps, instead of the practically prehistoric 50 Mbps which customers are currently experiencing.

“We keep investing in our network, and using our technology leadership to make sure customers are getting the most out of the latest smartphones,” said Marc Allera, EE CEO.

“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 smartphone experience.”

But how does it work? EE’s fastest mobile sites are equipped with 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum, and 35MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum. Refarming another 10MHz of 1800MHz spectrum from 2G to 4G at these sites will further increase speeds and reliability.

The refarming of these airwaves is also supported by the introduction of 4×4 MIMO, as well as the roll out 256QAM. Both of these technologies will improve the efficiency of the spectrum.

But don’t worry. For those who bought the relaunched Nokia 3310 earlier this year, which happens to only work on 2G, EE isn’t refarming all of the 2G airwaves. For now at least, you can continue to be an attention seeking hipster if you so desire.

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