mobile network tower 4g 5g

EE to convert old 3G mobile towers to 4G

Image credit: Dreamstime

EE has said it will convert more than 500 3G mobile towers to output 4G signal in a bid to boost data speeds for its users across the UK.

The conversions will take place over the next six months and the upgrades should also improve the reliability of connections on the network.

The towers will still transmit in the 2100MHz 3G network spectrum range but will use that to power 4G signal, giving the towers five channels through which data is transmitted.

According to EE, the latest smartphones can support connections to all five of those ‘carriers’ at the same time, with ‘5CA’.

The sites that EE is upgrading from 3G to 4G are the ‘hotspots’ in its network, where there is the greatest demand for mobile internet. The sites are mainly spread across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Exeter, Hull, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.

EE plans to switch on its 5G network in 2019, and 5G sites will be built on top of the upgraded sites with maximum amount of 4G spectrum, in the busiest areas.

The firm is part of BT Group. Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer business, said: “Our customers want a fast and reliable 4G connection, and that’s what we’re working to give them. We are using the investment we made in 3G spectrum nearly 15 years ago to give customers today a great experience with the latest smartphones on 4G, and build our foundation for 5G in 2019. We’re constantly evolving, and the customer experience of 5G will be dictated by the quality of the 4G network underneath.”

EE also said that 3G usage on its network is falling off with customers now making more calls on 4G than on 3G for the first time. 4G calls also benefit from EVS (enhanced voice services) technology for clearer voice quality.

A study released yesterday showed that over 5,000 miles of British roads lack phone signal entirely, representing around 2 per cent of the length of Britain’s overall road network. 

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