Tag Archives: Huawei

London and Bristol crowned UK’s leading smart cities

 smart-city

UK Smart Cities Index identifies leaders, contenders and challengers at London launch event

London and Bristol are Britain’s leading “smart cities”, according to new research commissioned by Huawei UK and conducted by Navigant Consulting.

The first-ever Huawei UK Smart Cities Index measured how well the nation’s urban centres are doing at using digital technology to improve everything from their transport infrastructure to their refuse collection.


Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, shares his views at the Huawei smart city event in London.

London and Bristol were ranked as “Leaders” at the top of the table; next came the “Contenders”, with Birmingham in third place, followed by Glasgow, Manchester, and Milton Keynes.

The Huawei UK Smart Cities Index rankings were calculated by an in-depth analysis of ten criteria within their strategy and execution, covering areas such as their vision, objectives, implementation record, environmental impact and community reach.

London and Bristol came top as a result of pioneering a range of urban innovations. London’s successes include its congestion charge scheme and other transport innovations and the London Datastore. Bristol’s achievements include the unique “Bristol Is Open” project, which has brought together the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and industry partners to create a city-scale network for innovation. Other notable programmes include Birmingham’s plans to make East Birmingham a testbed for smart technology; Manchester’s new Internet of Things City Demonstrator; Glasgow’s range of projects developed as part of Future Cities Demonstrator programme; and Milton Keynes’ MK:Smart collaboration on IoT projects with the Open University and other partners.


Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman Huawei UK, gives welcome speech at Huawei Smart Cities event in London

The Index highlighted five themes that are common across the most successful smart city programmes which are, the importance of leadership and vision; a need to focus on local priorities and strengths; the importance of engagement with local communities; building local partnerships and understanding the way in which the data revolution can improve services and boost innovation.

The report also highlights the role the UK Government has played in building momentum behind smart cities through the Future Cities and IoT demonstration programmes which has provided important seed funding for winning cities. While the establishment of the Future Cities Catapult has ensured continuity of interest, important questions are raised regarding the need to bridge the gap between funding for demonstration projects and full-scale commercial deployments.

The report cites the need for future demonstration projects to have a strong emphasis on both measurable outcomes and sound business cases, as well as encouraging wider collaboration and knowledge sharing between UK cities.

Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, speaking at the launch event said: “The Huawei UK Smart Cities Index highlights cities developing innovative digital projects and measures how well they are performing against each other. I hope it will encourage city leaders to share best practice and promote competition, because smarter use of data and technology drives growth and delivers a better quality of life. The Government strongly supports the Smart Cities sector, through the Future Cities Catapult and the Internet of Things City Demonstrator programme, and we welcome this report.”

Gordon Luo, Huawei UK CEO, said: “From Bristol’s open data strategy to Milton Keynes’s pilots of autonomous vehicles, there are excellent smart cities projects all over the UK. We wanted to understand how well advanced these schemes were and where lessons could be learnt between them. The Huawei UK Smart Cities Index shows that, right now, Britain is one of the most advanced countries in Europe in this field. But it’s still early days and there is more work to do to build more effective partnerships between city authorities and technology providers, and in making the benefits of smart city technology apparent to a greater number of citizens.”

Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Consulting, who led the study, said: “London and Bristol stand out from the crowd for combining technical innovation with a broader strategy for city development. But there are a number of cities close behind them with strong smart city programmes. The message from our research is that more city leaders need to embed the idea of smart capabilities into their urban projects. Cities and central government also need to work together to ensure successful pilot projects are turned into scalable projects that benefit all citizens.”

UK SMART CITIES INDEX

Rank City Category
1 London Leader
2 Bristol Leader
3 Birmingham Contender
4 Glasgow Contender
5 Manchester Contender
6 Milton Keynes Contender
7 Leeds Contender
8 Peterborough Contender
9 Nottingham Challenger
10 Sheffield Challenger

Launch Event

The launch event was held at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in central London and guest speakers included, Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy and Lord Browne, Chairman, Huawei UK. Speakers from the UK’s leading smart cities included: Andrew Collinge, Assistant Director, Greater London Authority; Geoff Snelson, Director of Strategy, Milton Keynes Council and Stephen Turner, Head of Future Cities, Manchester City Council.

Huawei is one of the largest Chinese inward investors in the UK. To date Huawei has provided Smart City solutions in over 60 cities in more than 20 countries across the world. Huawei’s Smart City solutions include smart government, smart healthcare, smart education and smart transportation in countries as diverse as the Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil and China.

Two links are provided to access the UK Smart Cities Index report and an Infographic:

UK Smart Cities Index report

UK Smart Cities Infographic

Source: Huawei

Vodafone to deploy NB-IoT in multiple markets next year

iot

Operator Vodafone promises to roll out NB-IoT tech across “multiple markets” in 2017, a fillip for the low power wide area (LPWA) cellular technology that is facing strong competition from proprietary rivals such as Ingenu, LoRa and Sigfox.

Vodafone’s commitment is significant as the NB-IoT standard is not yet fully ratified (expected this summer) and rival offerings (using unlicensed spectrum) have stolen a march on efforts to deploy low-cost IoT networks that only need to support low data rates, providing functions from sensor monitoring to asset tracking.

“NB-IoT operates in licensed spectrum and that is important to us at Vodafone because we need to deliver a high quality experience to our customers,” wrote Erik Brenneis, Vodafone’s IoT group director, in a blog. Taking a further swipe at the likes of Sigfox and friends, he claimed that “the alternative, using unlicensed spectrum, risks disruption to the signal from other technologies trying to use the same frequencies.”

To support its attempt to create a community of NB-IoT developers, Vodafone has opened what it claims is the world’s first NB-IoT open lab, in Newbury, UK, the first of several planned across the globe.

Vodafone operates in around 30 countries and partners with networks in over 50 more.

Industry support
Brenneis also called for closer collaboration between traditional mobile players: “To bring this exciting technology to market, the industry now needs to focus on rapid trials and to help customers to quickly and easily add NB-IoT to their products.”

These remarks echo recent comments from Huawei, itself a partner of Vodafone on the operator’s NB-IoT work to date.

While Huawei has been one of the main vendor drivers of NB-IoT, it has also seen support from chipset players including Qualcomm, Intel and HiSilicon; module makers such as U-blox, Telit, Sierra and Gemalto; and network rivals Ericsson and Nokia.

However, some operators are hedging their bets on which LPWA tech to support. For example, Altice’s SFR is deploying Sigfox while rivalsBouygues and Orange have opted for LoRa. Orange has at least suggested it would keep its options open regarding its technology of choice for IoT development in the future.

Source: Mobile World Live

Huawei enables NB-IoT application in vertical industries through innovation and collaboration

Huawei-Logo

At M2M World Congress in London, Huawei shared its Narrow-Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) strategy and innovations to advance IoT applications and smart cities that deliver social and economical benefits. Huawei also demonstrated how it is building an ecosystem that works together to realize the full potential of NB-IoT, including its collaboration with Vodafone to launch the Vodafone NB-IoT Open Lab in Newbury, U.K.

On the ecosystem development front, on April 25, 2016, Huawei and Vodafone announced the launch of the Vodafone NB-IoT Open Lab, which aims to help third parties conduct services including network solution verification, new application innovation, device integration, business model research and product compliance certification etc., to accelerate the application advancement within the vertical industries and promote the development of the industry chain.

NB-IoT technology has emerged as the Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) standardized by 3GPP, which provides a wide array of significant advantages including supporting more than 100,000 connections per cell, a long battery life of 10 year, deep coverage with a 20db gain over GSM networks, enhanced security supported by two-way authentication and strong interface encryption, as well as providing carrier stability to enable IoT applications and smart cities.

Currently, Huawei offers a comprehensive portfolio of IoT solutions. In addition to traditional network equipment, Huawei also offers a unified business management platform and communication chipsets to provide carriers with effective support for their commercial deployment of NB-IoT solutions.

“IoT applications represent powerful opportunities to transform the way businesses and cities connect to create vast social and economic benefits. However capturing the full potential of NB-IoT applications such as smart metering and smart parking requires innovation and collaboration around NB-IoT to ensure secure, stable and robust connectivity,” said Paul Scanlan, President of Business & Network Consulting, Huawei. “Together with our partners, Huawei is applying groundbreaking NB-IoT innovation to solve core challenges around IoT applications and smart cities. As a platinum sponsor of M2M Congress, we believe this is an important forum bringing together industry experts to discuss innovation and best practices for sustainable development of NB-IoT technology to enable IoT applications and smart cities and ultimately to build a better connected world.”

To date, Vodafone, Huawei and u-blox have already completed the successful commercial trial of the pre-standard NB-IoT technology. By successfully integrating the technology into the operator’s existing mobile network in Spain, the carrier will be able to offer long-distance remote metering services to its users in the future. Huawei’s chipset and software supported this successful trial of the pre-NB IoT technology which realized narrowband communications in carrier frequency. The deployment of NB-IoT in licensed cellular spectrum means it is secure and less susceptible to interference and can provide a better guarantee of service. Further trials and large-scale commercial deployments are planned by the companies.

Moving forward, Huawei will continue to invest in innovation and is committed to building a robust, open ecosystem to drive NB-IoT technology innovation and commercialization. Together with its strategic partners such as Vodafone, Huawei will lead the development of NB-IoT connectivity across a number of different verticals including utilities, agriculture, manufacturing, wearables and transport to create a better connected world.

Source: Huawei

NB-IoT Forum is preparing to take off

The NB-IoT forum will bring together all of the industry and ecosystem partners in a way which helps deliver NB-IoT to the market as quickly as possible. The forum will be hosted within an existing industry level organisation.

NB-IoT is the emerging industry solution for deployment of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks using licenced operator spectrum, in-band, guard band and stand-alone deployments, and is expected to have global scale. The new technology is designed to provide deep coverage of hard to reach places, supporting a massive number of low throughput, ultra-low cost devices, with low device power consumption and optimised network architecture.

The NB-IoT forum aims to:

  • facilitate demonstrations and proof of concept trials which strengthen the NB-IoT solution to meet LPWA requirements;
  • lead partners to build a strong end-to-end industry chain for NB-IoT future growth and development;
  • drive and proliferate NB-IoT applications in vertical markets for new business opportunities;
  • promote collaboration between all NB-IoT industry partners to ensure interoperability of solutions.

China Mobile, Etisalat, LG Uplus, Shanghai Unicom, Telecom Italia and Vodafone also announce their support for the creation of six new NB-IoT open labs worldwide, which will focus on NB-IoT new service innovation, industry development, interoperability tests and product compliance certification.

It is expected that these labs and others will form a key part of the NB-IoT forum initiative. New use cases and business models will be explored in these open labs, and results will be shared with the whole industry.

Customer pilots using pre-NB-IoT technology are already underway. Pre-commercial deployment is expected during the second half of 2016, with commercial roll-out from early in 2017. The NB-IoT forum and the open labs will help to drive the development of the NB-IoT industry to the next stage.

The detailed scope, format and objectives of the forum will now be worked on, with membership extended to further companies in future.

Source: Vodafone

Huawei warns on IoT hype, confusion over LPWA

NAZIR

 

LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 MIDDLE EAST: Chinese vendor giant Huawei fired a warning shot on the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) market, claiming that the numerous different technologies capable of supporting Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) services are hindering overall market growth.

LPWA networks are designed for IoT applications with low data rates, long battery lives and that operate unattended for long periods of time. According to analyst firms Analysys Mason, Machina Research and Strategy Analytics, LPWA connections will reach 2.7 billion by 2022.

European operators such as Orange, KPN and Proximus are in the process of using LoRa (Long Range) technology for LPWA services. Meanwhile the GSMA recently launched its own Mobile IoT project,  designed to address the use of low-power solutions in licensed spectrum. And other solutions include Sigfox, Telensa and Weightless.

“If I’m a sensor manufacturer, what standards do I use?” mused Safder Nazir, Regional VP Smart Cities & IoT, Huawei. “There’s a role for regulators in this space to decide, and then we can accelerate the development of sensors.”

Session moderator Matt Hatton, CEO of Machina Research, asked Nazir if there was a concern that mobile operators could end up deploying “the IoT equivalent of WiMAX”, a technology marketed as ‘4G’ but eventually trumped by the more successful global technology LTE.

Indeed, technologies such as Wi-Fi and LPWA are battling with cellular to connect the IoT world.

“Yes that is an issue and should be settled 5 years from now when we have 5G, but we’re in a period of turbulence. It requires close collaboration between operators and regulators to drive standardisation forward and settle on the rules of the game. The more specific it becomes the easier it becomes for people to understand.”

Nazir also urged the industry not to get carried away by IoT hype. “Just because we can connect everything doesn’t mean we should. It should be about the internet of value.”

“For operators, be careful you don’t become Uberised,” he added.

Source:  Justin Springham Mobile World Live

Audi intensifies the expansion of connectivity in cars in China

audi-cars-logo-emblem

AUDI AG concluding extensive cooperation agreements with Baidu and Huawei

  • Audi is enabling seamless and fast automotive smartphone use for its customers in China
  • Brand with the four rings is integrating Baidu CarLife in its cars
  • Ricky Hudi, Head of Development Electrics/Electronics at AUDI AG: “We are working with strong partners and are driving progress in networking the car with the Internet and its surroundings.”
Audi and Baidu CarLife – Integration of smartphones into the car
Audi and Baidu CarLife – Integration of smartphones into the car

Audi is intensifying the expansion of connectivity of its cars in China, according to an announcement by the premium carmaker in advance of the first CES Asia taking place in Shanghai. With Baidu CarLife, Audi will also be offering uncompromising integration of smartphones in its cars in China. A China-specific LTE module, which Audi is developing in a joint venture with Huawei, will deliver fast data transmission.

“The aim of our partnership with Baidu – a company that is number one on the Chinese search engine market – is to drive advances in the online networking of our cars in China,” says Ricky Hudi, Head of Development Electrics/Electronics at AUDI AG. Baidu CarLife is a smartphone integration for use in the automobile, similar to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

As soon as customers connect their smartphone to the car, the Audi smartphone interface starts up. On the MMI display, an environment opens with customized Baidu apps that are very popular in China, especially among young people. CarLife will operate with both iOS and Android, which will allow Audi reach the vast majority of customers.

Audi and Baidu already agreed to form a partnership at the end of January. Along with integration of Baidu CarLife, other components of the partnership include joint development of map data, positioning algorithms and point-of-interest functions. For example, they enable the transfer of destination data into the car from a Baidu Map on a computer or smartphone. In addition to Baidu CarLife, another cooperative effort being shown by Audi at CES Asia is the Audi tablet, which already includes the integrated Baidu web browser and Baidu app store.

To assure its Chinese customers of unlimited use of their online services in the automobile, quick and seamless data transmission must be guaranteed. Audi is adapting to market-specific requirements in Asia. Audi has signed an agreement with Huawei Technologies Co., one of the world’s largest network providers, for the development and utilization of an Asia-specific LTE module. Audi will use the module in China, Japan and Korea. It supports the TDD-LTE (Time Division Duplexing) wireless standard by China Mobile, which was redefined in 2013, and the FDD-LTE (Frequency Division Duplexing) standard. This makes Audi the first premium automaker to offer a fully integrated LTE solution in China.

Source: Audi

Huawei outlines Smart City vision

Huawei-Logo

 

Chinese vendor giant Huawei today claimed the world is just at the first stage of the journey to smart cities, with a lot of information being gathered but not used very effectively because we haven’t yet connected vertical markets.

John Frieslaar, Huawei’s director of strategy and innovation, said he thinks smart cities is a journey that goes from connected cities, to smart cities to intelligent cities, which ultimately will be more sustainable.

“The journey is all about how you use the data, moving from using data to understanding what happened, to using it to change the future,” he said.

Delivering a keynote at the event, Frieslaar noted that it’s not about connectivity or broadband anymore. “It’s about digital transformation – how do we get the information and what do we do with it.”

In terms of smart services, he said many city councils are doing interesting and innovative things that are forcing the telecoms community to sit up and take note and figure out the new types of services that are required from the networks.

Trends like autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and 3D printing are impacting the way networks are developed and deployed.

Frieslaar said the broadband architecture for 2020 will be built on a number of major components such as 5G radio access, software defined networks that allow the granular switching of traffic flows, network function virtualisation and storing things in the cloud.

The main reason behind all this, he explained, is the demand to accelerate business through faster network innovation cycles and more rapid development of new services.

Smart cities are becoming a major driver of Huawei’s growth around the world, he said. “Cities like London are gong to the likes of BT and saying ‘can you provide me with these services, because right now your portfolio is not what I really want’.”

City councils agree that free WiFi access is important to engage with citizens and to spur economic growth. “Clearly from a telecommunications perspective, their needs are changing and a traditional telecoms portfolio of services is probably not what they want in the future. It’s the Internet of Things and the cloud of things that they’ll want over the next five years,” he said.

The IoT market is predicted to have 50 billion devices by 2025. He noted that the world manufactures more than one trillion industrial devices each year, so the potential of IoT could be far in excess of 50 billion.

He added that as we move into the IoT world with autonomous vehicles, processing needs to be more local. Networks will have to have at least two macro base stations in the area to provide redundancy. “The whole dynamic of how we build networks has to change.”

Source: Mobile World Live Joseph Waring

LTE 450MHz: taking the road less travelled

LTE Logo Square

While it is true that spectrum is a scarce resource that operators can’t get enough of, it’s also true that not all spectrum is equally loved. While demand for the mainstream frequencies have led to bumper auction bidding worldwide, others have been less widely adopted.

One such band is 450MHz, which, nevertheless, is being used by a number of operators globally – albeit with significant gaps including much of Western Europe and the US. The technology of choice for these operators is CDMA 450MHz, with figures from Mobility Development Group (formerly CDMA Development Group) indicating it is used by 115 operators in 60 countries, in all regions except North America.

But, with CDMA having had its time in the sun, the industry is looking to LTE to provide a path forward for 450MHz. Touted benefits include improved speeds, increased capacity and reduced latency.

So why 450MHz? The inherent advantage of the spectrum band is coverage. Compared with higher bands, it requires a smaller number of base stations to give a broad reach, meaning there are economic benefits when it comes to covering large areas with a dispersed population. And while providing mobile broadband connectivity in remote areas is one key application for the technology, there is another area where it can shine: M2M.

Applications such as smart meters don’t require much in terms of bandwidth, but do need connectivity even in remote areas. And some industries, such as logistics, agriculture, forestry and mining, frequently focus on areas with small populations, where “traditional” mobile coverage does not make sense.

With mainstream consumer devices not including LTE 450MHz support (and unlikely to do so at any point soon), this band is also largely free of congestion, while having the potential to offload M2M traffic away from the premium frequency bands – leaving capacity for more lucrative services.

Trailblazers
The trailblazer for LTE 450MHz is Ukko Mobile, which launched its network in Finland late in 2014. Using infrastructure from Huawei, it launched with 99.9 per cent coverage – putting it in top spot in the market using that metric.

The operator is focusing on enterprise, government and transport sectors, while also “targeting more remote areas and locations with sporadic peaks in demand, such as the 700,000 summer cottages in Finland”.

Alcatel-Lucent has also announced a deal with AINMT Holdings to deploy LTE 450MHz technology for its ice.net business in Norway.

At Huawei’s Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen last week, I was able to catch up with the company about its efforts in this space – along with Alcatel-Lucent, it is one of the most active vendors both in CDMA 450MHz and LTE 450MHz.

According to the Chinese company, this year could see more players in the 450MHz camp making decisions with regard to their upgrade paths. Markets in Eastern and Northern Europe are likely to lead the way, with likely candidates including Poland, Denmark and Sweden.

And there are some other big markets in the pipeline, including Brazil and Russia. China may also be a possibility in the future, although at least for the time being the focus is on the more popular bands being used by operators to support their “mainstream” 4G rollouts.

Of course, there are always downsides, and in the case of 450MHz, frequency allocations are small – presenting a challenge for vendors and operators alike. With many operators already having a sizable installed CDMA 450MHz customer base, including lucrative enterprise customers, continued support for these deployments is a must.

Despite the limited spectrum available for 450MHz operators (sub 5MHz), Huawei said it is possible to migrate to a split arrangement, with two carriers assigned to LTE and one to CDMA. Then, with time, customers can be migrated to the newer network.

Even with the limited resource assigned to LTE under this arrangement, there is the scope for performance benefits in the early days.

In addition, legacy network resources can be used while rolling out LTE 450MHz, to preserve existing investments and reduce additional costs. Reuse of remote radio units and antennas also significantly simplifies deployment.

Device support
Of course, for any technology away from the mainstream, there is the issue of building ecosystem momentum. This is especially true of the current situation, where the lack of firm operator rollout plans means there is little in the way of a market for device makers.

But Eran Eshed, co-founder and VP of marketing and business development at Altair Semiconductor, has a positive view of the market.

“The size of the opportunity, in my opinion, is just large enough to attract a number of key players that will sustain a good business and keep economies under control. There are already two tier-one infrastructure vendors with LTE 450MHz products, as well as two chipset companies. We have more than a handful of customers already building products, so this is really not an issue,” he told Mobile World Live.

“The technology works – this is proven and not debatable at this point in time. Ecosystem is the next challenge, and I’m glad to say that from a chipset perspective, only Altair and Qualcomm are in the game – and our (Altair’s) products, being LTE-only, are much more attractive to customers,” Eshed continued.

With future development in the LTE 450MHz market set to include support for Category 0 terminals, enabling the delivery of low-cost devices for M2M applications, handsets supporting push to talk, and carrier aggregation with 800MHz and 1800MHz LTE networks, there is certainly plenty to appeal to operators as they make their decisions for 450MHz spectrum.

The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members.

Source:  Mobile Word Live Steve Costello

UK “leading the way” when it comes to global ICT

Globalisation of industry “essential” to economic growth, Huawei report finds.

The globalisation of the IT industry is central to ensuring economic growth around the world.

European nations are amongst the most developed, in part down to their embracing of new technologies, whereas developing countries (including the BRIC collective) fared poorly, according to the first edition of The ICT Globalisation Index, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report commissioned by Huawei.

The report examined a range of indicators across 20 countries spread across five continents, including openness to information and communication technologies (ICT) trade, openness to foreign investment in the ICT sector, research and development (R&D) globalisation, and strength of the ICT environment.

Of the countries surveyed, the UK came out on top, recording an overall score of 69.6 (out of a maximum of 100), followed by the Netherlands (60.3) and Germany (56.0), mainly due to its openness to trade, where it ranked third, and the strength of its ICT environment,

What set the UK apart was its openness to foreign investment, where it scored 91.7, far ahead of any other nation. The report theorised that this high score may be due to the UK’s lack of domestic innovation, which was shown by the relatively low proportion of ICT patents registered in the country.

Despite European countries largely scoring highly in the report, the continent did present a significant North-South divide, Christopher Clague, Senior Analyst at the EIU, said whilst presenting the results.

Northern European economies tended to be export-focused, leading them to push in order to be more competitive and commit more to R&D in particular, whereas Southern European economies often imported new products or services, improving relations between countries but stalling domestic development.

Overall, a lack of transparency and poor knowledge of foreign markets were the main factors in hindering future growth, the report found, with Clague stating that many of the agreements than cover global trade are more than 20 years old.

“The ICT sector could be more globalised than at present,” he stated during his presentation, adding that issues such as the Edward Snowden revelations had stalled some aspects of international co-operation.

The findings ring especially close to home for Huawei, the report’s sponsors, given their past attempts to establish themselves in the West, with the US market in particular proving extremely difficult following allegations of covert government spying.

Overall, developing nations fared poorly in the report, with Clague theorising that a lack of available funds for R&D spending and generally poorer IT infrastructure could be key factors in holding back major potential.

This should improve over time, though, he said, adding that future versions of the report may look extremely different as spending patterns change. Disruptive emerging technologies such as 3D printing could also play their part, Clague said, saying that new innovation in such areas could potentially come from any nation.

Source: CBR/The Economist

EE Turns on the World’s Fastest 4G Network

EE SWITCHES ON WORLD’S FASTEST 4G NETWORK OFFERING UP TO 300Mbps SPEEDS

LTE-Advanced network designed to meet expected demands of future consumers and companies

  • London’s Tech City area is first to be covered by world’s fastest mobile network
  • 300Mbps mobile network set for further expansion and commercial availability in 2014
  • EE predicts data usage will rise by 750% over next three years

EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, is today switching on the fastest 4G mobile network in the world.

The network – running LTE-Advanced technology and which is capable of reaching 300Mbps speeds – will initially cover London’s Tech City, with companies in the area being selected to access it first.

This latest EE network innovation follows the company’s internal analysis of consumer and business trends, which forecasts a data-usage rise of 750% over the next three years. Such an unprecedented rise in usage means that a broad portfolio of mobile spectrum is essential for operators wanting to deliver a great customer experience for consumers and businesses in the near future.

The network is being unveiled today by EE CEO Olaf Swantee at the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London. Huawei is EE’s 4G technology partner for this world-leading mobile innovation.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: “Today we are introducing the next age of 4G mobile technology to the UK. Our existing 4G network delivers incredible mobile data speeds and covers millions of people across the country, but we never stand still. We know that mobile data usage is going to keep increasing, and rapidly so.

“Our analysts predict that data usage will grow significantly over the next three years. In fact, our trend-mapping shows that data usage is set to rise by 750% in that period, as consumers and companies conduct more of their business and lives on-line.   

“The network we’re switching on today in Tech City uses the spectrum that we acquired in the Ofcom spectrum auction earlier this year, and is the first part of an infrastructure that can meet the future demands of an increasingly data-hungry nation, enabling us to stay one-step ahead of the demand.”

The EE 300Mbps 4G network covers Tech City from launch, and will be rolled out across London throughout 2014. In December, local companies from the Tech City area will be selected to become exclusive EE partners, enabling them to experience the service before it becomes commercially available when compatible devices launch from mid-2014.

The speed and capacity of the EE 300Mbps network will create new business opportunities, more efficient and flexible ways of wireless working, and changes in the way in which content is consumed and created on the go.

The amount of capacity within the 4G network enables the extension of vital, high-data business applications, such as ERP and SAP, to become cloud-based, offering enterprises increased efficiency and flexibility. Financial institutions in particular – often reliant upon transferring large volumes of data – can benefit enormously from this flexibility. Increased bandwidth across the network also enables a new approach to outside broadcast for media companies, as a small number of 4G SIMs can replace an entire satellite truck and the rental of a satellite connection.

For consumers, the future of mobile is about connecting more devices, accessing more real-time information, and sharing higher definition images and videos. The emergence of wearable technology, for example, will continue to increase consumer usage of data across multiple connected products. In consumer entertainment, ultra high definition 4K TV is the future, and LTE-A makes it possible to support that on a mobile network. BBC iPlayer streams at 5Mbps, whereas 4K TV will stream at 20Mbps, so a consistently high average speed, enabled by sufficient capacity on the network, is essential.

The new network innovation, which has a theoretical maximum speed of 300Mbps, is enabled by carrier aggregation – bringing together 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum and 20MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum. This is a fundamental feature of LTE-Advanced, and more features will be trialled throughout 2014 to extend EE’s global network leadership.

The LTE-Advanced device ecosystem is developing quickly to ensure that there are mobile broadband units and handsets capable of utlising this network capability. The EE selected user programme will launch using a CAT6 Huawei router – the first device of its kind in the world. The device can provide a high speed mobile Wi-Fi connection to up to twenty devices, and devices enabled with 802.11ac can access speeds as high as 200Mbps.

It is expected that the first commercially available Mobile Wi-Fi units will be introduced by summer 2014, also by Huawei, with handsets to follow in the second half of the year.

EE has just passed its first birthday, and already has over 1.2million 4G customers, and a 4G network that covers 131 towns and cities – approximately 60% of the population. New price plans that went live last week made 4G available from £18.99 per month, offer consumer and small business data bundles up to 50Gb, and introduced the first pay as you go 4G to the market.

Source: EE