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Is EE 4G starting to become a victim of its own popularity?

by Mark Tyson on 20 May 2014, 11:04

Tags: Everything Everywhere

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An impending report by network monitoring company RootMetrics will highlight a decline in performance for those using the EE 4G mobile network. It seems that the UK's first 4G network has started to become a victim of its own success to some degree, reports PC Pro magazine.

RootMetrics surmised back in March that EE offered the UK's fastest and most reliable mobile network, but since that time network congestion has started to kick in, analysts postulate. In an interview with PC Pro, RootMetrics CEO, Bill Moore said "We've started to see some EE slow down... and we're seeing a speed up on all the other networks because they've [now] got LTE".

US history repeats

Moore also suggested that what we are seeing here is almost identical to what happened in the US marketplace. An early 4G/LTE leader got ahead in the market there, but then became saturated with users hungry for the faster data speeds. Meanwhile competitors started to launch their own faster networks and overtook the initial leader.

We do have the capacity – EE

EE has made a statement in the light of the RootMetrics report and said that it has spectrum available to make room for new customers as they move to the EE network. It asserts that the launch of double speed 4G last year was in acknowledgement of the possibility of an upcoming slowdown. Also EE points out that in London it will be introducing 'carrier aggregation' to bring speeds as high as 300Mbits/sec.

5G timescales

While we worry about the 4G/LTE slowdown it seems that EE has plans are in place to commercially launch 5G services sometime shortly after 2020. By that time EE expects to be faced with twelve times the mobile traffic that it handles today, so it won't be too soon.

We all know online video makes mincemeat of our data plans in current times. Interestingly EE predicts that online gaming and augmented reality will account for 68 per cent of non-video data usage in the future.

UPDATE: RootMetrics will be issuing its report tonight/tomorrow - the source of the EE network congestion indications was a pre-report PCPro interview with the RootMetrics CEO.



HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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I want 4G but EE is the only one in my area and they don't have an unlimited tariff yet so I'll wait.
Well that sucks if it's true.

I'm on 3 and I will admit that there roll-out has been slow but that's what you would expect from the smallest firm, and the 3g speeds I was getting were pretty good! (~ 6/7 mbs). But the 4g just rolled out where I live and wow… I hardly notice a difference XD web browsing isn't marginally faster but it's hard to point out. It's nice I can have HD youtube video's when i'm on the go and large android apps update quickly.

Also, unlimited data. Thank you. :)
I recently switched from 3 to EE, not because of the 4g speed claims but because of 3's stupid decision to restrict tethering to 2GB on the one plan - whereas EE allow you to use your whole data allowance for tethering. This is vital for me as although I am based from home, I often work remotely on customers sites where I have no network access.

I must say though I am not particularly impressed with the coverage or speed of EE's network, despite everybody telling me I would see a noted difference. 4g is generally around 25Mb/s, but I have seen those speeds on HSDPA before so that's nothing new. 3g speeds are a little bit lower than I saw on 3, typically about 5Mb/s. The problem is 4g is not particularly common so normally I'm stuck with slightly lower speeds than I am used to.

If you don't need tethering like I do, go with 3 (and keep EE bandwidth for me).
what's 4G…. honestly where I live I can barely get 3G from t-mobile, vodafone can't even manage that….

My nearest 4G service is 15mins away by car but then there isn't another one for at least an hour to an hour and a half drive.

I'd rather they focus on speeding up delivery of 3G and 4G, something vodafone have failed to do after they agreed to, than worry about 5G.

Not to mention the fact that wired broadband is going to be so much slower than wireless broadband it's time BT got off their behinds and upgraded the wired (I can get adsl2 @ 24mb/s but no chance on fibre)
'[DW
Cougho;3279653']I recently switched from 3 to EE, not because of the 4g speed claims but because of 3's stupid decision to restrict tethering to 2GB on the one plan - whereas EE allow you to use your whole data allowance for tethering. This is vital for me as although I am based from home, I often work remotely on customers sites where I have no network access.

I must say though I am not particularly impressed with the coverage or speed of EE's network, despite everybody telling me I would see a noted difference. 4g is generally around 25Mb/s, but I have seen those speeds on HSDPA before so that's nothing new. 3g speeds are a little bit lower than I saw on 3, typically about 5Mb/s. The problem is 4g is not particularly common so normally I'm stuck with slightly lower speeds than I am used to.

If you don't need tethering like I do, go with 3 (and keep EE bandwidth for me).

That's a bum, I have the one plan - bought from September or so last year and it still has the properly unlimited tethering clause in it. Saved my life while our internet was being installed and EE kept making a mess of it. I can see why they did it though, if they allowed unlimited 4G access it would be faster than most people's home broadband connections…

I'm also paying £15/mo not £20. Speaking to retentions is going to be fun this Autumn :D