EE and Qualcomm aggregate no less than seven spectrum carriers

UK MNO EE joined forces with US mobile chip giant Qualcomm to use seven distinct chunks of spectrum at once, resulting in more 5G bandwidth.

It has been a while since we wrote a 5G chest-beating story but EE has historically been a rich source of such material. Outright performance claims, in this case, are heavily qualified. The headline of the press release speaks of ‘a European first in speeds’ but there’s no elaboration on that precise claim in the body copy. Instead we’re told speeds hit 2.2 Gbps in lab tests, after Nokia and Turk Telecom claimed double that only recently.

The substantial achievement, it seems, was the aggregation of seven different spectrum carriers into one obese pipe. Specifically we’re talking about five carriers currently used for LTE (1.8GHz x2, 2.1GHz x1 and 2.6GHz x2) and two explicitly set aside for 5G (3.4GHz and 3.6GHz). Together they created a pipe 170MHz in diameter, which ‘could deliver the fastest available 5G in some areas of the UK.’

“Our commitment to technology investment and innovation, coupled with our leading 5G footprint, continues to see the EE network offer and sustain the best overall 5G experience in the UK,” said David Salam, Director of Mobile at EE. “By pooling our research expertise with Qualcomm Technologies, we have been able to further enhance the EE network and will start to deliver some of Europe’s fastest 5G speeds in our major cities.”

“We’re proud to have worked with EE to achieve such a notable milestone in the evolution of 5G technology,” said Vikrant Jain, Business Development Director at Qualcomm. “Aggregating seven different spectrum bands for 5G is a significant achievement and will provide enhanced customer experience. Qualcomm Technologies would like to congratulate EE as it remains at the forefront of 5G technology innovation.”

We’ll let you decide how significant this achievement is but it’s certainly an achievement. The thing is, nobody really cares about mobile speeds these days. 4G is just fine for most on-the-go data needs, while people tend to leave the heavy lifting to unmetered wifi. We’d be very surprised if incremental speed claims are any more effective than highlighting obscure use-cases in driving demand for 5G subscriptions.

Incidentally the above photo came with the press release. We don’t know which company each of the glamorous young women work for but our guess would be the one holding a OnePlus phone is more likely than the one apparently wearing an Apple Watch to be the Qualcomm representative.


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