EE, Qualcomm test seven-carrier aggregation to boost 5G

EE expects to reach half of the U.K. population with its 5G service by early 2023

U.K. carrier EE claimed to be the first European network to successfully aggregate a 5G signal using seven different spectrum carriers, the telco said in a release.

The experiment was performed in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies at BT’s Borehamwood lab, and used five 4G spectrum bands and two 5G. The latter included the 3.6 GHz frequencies acquired in U.K.’s latest auction in 2021.

EE noted that the lab tests reached 5G data speeds of 2.2 Gbps in with expected real-world speeds of over 1.7 Gbps on the network.

A mobile test device featuring the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform with Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System was used to achieve the milestone, EE said.

“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. 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,” said David Salam, director of mobile at EE.

Vikrant Jain, director of business development at Qualcomm Technologies International, said: “Aggregating seven (5LTE +2NR) different spectrum bands for 5G is a significant achievement and will provide enhanced customer experience.”

EE initially launched 5G technology in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester. Other large cities in which the telco offers 5G coverage includes Bristol, Covently,  Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Sunderland.

The U.K. carrier previously said it expects to reach half of the U.K. population with its 5G service by early 2023. The also telco said that its 5G network will reach 90% of the country’s territory by 2028.

To reach this benchmark, EE said that its recently obtained 700 MHz 5G spectrum will be deployed across the majority of EE sites, offering indoor and wider rural coverage.

EE had previously secured 2×10 megahertz of paired frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz band at a cost of £280 million (currently $365 million); 20 megahertz of supplementary downlink spectrum in the 700 MHz band at a cost of £4 million; and 40 megahertz in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band for £168 million.

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