EE: 4G Speeds To 'Double' In Ten Cities By Summer 2013

Speeds of "superfast" 4G broadband services are to double, provider EE announced today.

Average speeds on the network currently range between 8Mbps and 12Mbps but this is to be given a boost to more than 20Mbps.

The service is expected to enable users to surf the web much more quickly on mobile phones.

Olaf Swantee, EE's chief executive officer, said headline speeds would reach more than 80Mbps and the benefits would be brought in for both new and current subscribers.

"We are ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of the digital revolution," he said.

"Having already pioneered 4G here, we're now advancing the country's infrastructure again with an even faster, even higher-capacity network, and at no extra cost to our customers."

Since launching 4G, the company said it had observed a "huge shift" in the way people use mobile phones. This includes an increase in the number of consumers using video, maps and sat-nav tools.

Double-speed services will be rolled out in ten cities where 4G is already in place by the summer.

These include Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

The announcement comes just weeks after 4G was extended to the Northern Fells in Cumbria, one of the UK's most rural regions, for the first time.

The service is now available in 50 towns and cities across the country. EE aims to reach one million 4G customers by the end of the year.

EE said it would also double the amount of spectrum bandwidth dedicated to 4G to give customers better access to "some of the fastest mobile speeds in the world" while "revolutionising working practices".

With newly boosted speeds, customers should be able to upload or download pictures in high definition with greater resolution or view and share videos without delay.

Matthew Howett, telecoms regulation analyst at research firm Ovum, said EE's latest move would pose a challenge to its competitors who plan to roll out 4G services later this year.

"Given EE's large and contiguous holding of spectrum at 1800MHz, this puts them in a very strong position and makes it more difficult for their peers to play catch-up once they launch networks in the coming weeks and months," he added.

He suggested that today's announcement showed EE was also keen to "dampen rumours" of weak take-up.

EE, which was formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, was the first company to offer a 4G network in the UK and others are expected to follow suit in the coming months.

For the typical user, download speeds of initial 4G networks should be at least five to seven times faster than those of existing 3G networks.

EE, formerly known as Everything Everywhere, plans to extend the service to around 80 locations - and approximately 55% of the UK population - by June.

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