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Vodafone announces UK carrier aggregation roll-out

Vodafone is set to roll out LTE-A network services

Vodafone has announced it will begin rolling out LTE Advanced, aka 4.5G, in Birmingham, London and Manchester this month, with rest of the country to follow over a year’s time. The operator will be the first in the UK to launch commercial LTE-A network services.

The 4.5G service is delivered through carrier aggregation on the 800Mhz and 2.6GHz spectrum frequency bands, which the operator claims are particularly well suited for the technology, saying the lower frequency is good for indoor coverage, whereas the higher frequency ensures peak speeds and capacity.

Vodafone said its LTE-A network will allow up to three times faster peak speeds compared to its standard 4G network. “This clever technology is the next big step to deliver faster speeds per user and to increase the capacity so more customers can enjoy a great 4G experience when and where they want it,” Vodafone UK Technology Director Fergal Kelly said.

Although Vodafone is the first in the UK to launch consumer LTE-A, EE has been running its own 4.5G service already for almost a year. EE’s LTE-A network, however, is a pilot only available in London’s Tech City. Launching the service in November last year, the operator said it would be commercially available in 2014, but it looks like EE is running out of time on that front.

According to Vodafone, the 4.5G rollout is part of a £1 billion overall investment programme in its UK network and services this year. Other investment targets have included a nationwide HD voice technology and the Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal programme for 3G coverage for remote areas. This announcement is likely to lead to a 4.5G land-grab from the other UK operators.


4 comments

  1. Mike Newlands 15/10/2014 @ 6:02 pm

    Where on earth do you get this 4.5G nonsense? According to the performance standard stipulated by the ITU, LTE below 3GPP Release 10 is not 4G. Release 10 and above, LTE-A which include CA, allows fast enough speeds to legitimately be called 4G. So what Vodafone is actually introducing with LTE-A is 4G.

  2. Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 16/10/2014 @ 9:33 am

    Hi Mike, the 4.5G claim is Vodafone’s not ours, sorry for not making that clearer. There is considerable precedent for marketing departments to creatively interpret ITU stuff – I remember one telco positioning HSPA+ as 4G.

  3. Mike Newlands 16/10/2014 @ 2:24 pm

    Not just one Scott, there were quite a few including T-Mobile in the US and several operators in the Caribbean. It became quite widespread and no doubt we will now be bombarded with 4.5G and even 4.75G nonsense by marketing departments of operators introducing LTE-A. However genuine 4.5G may be on display from Huawei at MBB Global Forum in Shanghai next month. This is a 10GB/s peak rate technology expected to go commercial from 2016.

  4. Dean Anthony Gratton 17/10/2014 @ 1:12 pm

    LTE-A is 4G as proposed by the ITU and 3GPP – they wanted to achieve 1.5Gb/s, as a de facto, in turn, true wireless broadband!

    It really annoys me when I read such nonsense as 4.5G since these unsavory operators will inevitably sell something better for an additional premium when, clearly, it should have been delivered from the onset… pfft.

    Best wishes
    Dean.

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