EE’s UK network tests push LTE speeds to 410 Mbps

U.K. carrier Everything Everywhere has managed to squeeze a 410 Mbps LTE connection out of a 4G trial, generating speeds nearly 50 percent faster than its new souped-up “4G+” network in London. We’re still a couple of years away from such raw speeds in the wild, but these tests show what’s in store for consumers as the mobile industry takes up new LTE-Advanced technologies.

EE had plenty of help from [company]Qualcomm[/company], which builds the cellular modems inside of smartphones and tablets, and its network supplier Huawei. The companies supplied device and network technology that supports a new iteration of the LTE standard called Category 9, which uses a technique called carrier aggregation to bond together LTE transmissions in disparate frequency bands to create a kind of super-connection.

Many carriers around the world already have begun using carrier aggregation to tie together two LTE transmissions, but Category 9 chips will combine the bandwidth of three different frequency channels, creating a downlink up to 60 MHz wide that could potentially support speeds up to 450 Mbps. EE has already used carrier aggregation to build a 40 MHz network, but Category 9 gear is allowing it to tack on an additional 15 MHz of bandwidth in the 2.6 GHz band.

We’ll likely see other trials of the technology in the coming year, and not just in Europe and Asia. Though U.S. operators have been slow to adopt carrier aggregation, they’re deploying new 4G networks all over the frequency map. Both [company]Verizon[/company] and [company]AT&T[/company] now have second and third LTE networks in the Advanced Wireless Service and PCS bands. Meanwhile, [company]Sprint[/company] has a boatload of spectrum allocated for its new Spark 4G service. It just needs carrier aggregation to tie all of those frequencies together.