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UK Finally Gets 4G Networking

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the one-upping-dan-savage dept.

Cellphones 49

judgecorp writes "The UK has finally got its first 4G network, provided by EE, a new brand from Everything Everywhere, the company formed by the merger of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK. The network will cover 20 million people (about a third of the UK population) in 16 cities by the end of 2012, but right now only engineers are on the network. It will support phones including the expected iPhone 5, and the Nokia Lumia 920."

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49 comments

frequency band? (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year and a half ago | (#41298697)

On what frequency band is it deployed?

Re:frequency band? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41298751)

1800Mhz; so if the new iPhone has the same radio hardware as the recent iPad, it won't be compatiable.

Re:frequency band? (2)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about a year and a half ago | (#41298925)

It's kind-of sad that this question even needs to be asked after 3 generations of global mobile telephony.
  As Andy Tanenbaum said: "The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from.".
You'd think that by now we could agree on a unified solution for 4G.

Re:frequency band? (3, Insightful)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41299233)

We, as in UK, Europe and the rest of the world have. It is just the USA that is different.

Re:frequency band? (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about a year and a half ago | (#41300087)

Is this post wrong, then?

http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3109345&cid=41299395 [slashdot.org]

The 1800 MHz Band is one of the three bands that Europe is standardizing on: 800, 1800 and 2600MHz. Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile is for example currently roling out a 1800 MHz network in 100 cities in Germany. Basically all LTE smartphones now headed for the European market support 800/1800/2600 MHz.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41300625)

Is this post wrong, then?

http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3109345&cid=41299395 [slashdot.org]

As author of that post you cite, I don't really see the contradiction of my post to the post you replied, at least as far as Europe is concerned. As I said, Europe is standardizing on three frequency bands. It's not like some countries will use one of these, and others another. To my knowledge, all countries in Europe will use LTE on 800/1800/2600 MHz (just like all countries in Europe use GSM on both 900 MHz and 1800MHz). To extend the example of Germany: Vodafone is currently building out 800/2600 MHz, Deutsche Telekom 800/1800 (in both cases 800 MHz is mostly used for rural coverage so far). Deutsche Telekom has also licenses on 2600 MHz, which they will use eventually to add capacity where needed.

So Europe will continue to use a common set of frequencies across the three generations of digital network, and handsets supporting these will continue to work on any network in Europe.

Concerning the "rest of the world", though, I think the post you replied to is not quite right: There is definitely more variation than "USA" vs "the rest of the world". The frequency map is just too fragmented internationally, there are not that many frequencies (or, probably, none) that are available "everywhere". This is why 1800 MHz in fact might become an important LTE band for roaming: outside of the Americas, it is already used almost everywhere for GSM, and in many places there seem to be plans to refarm it for LTE, just like EE does.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41299317)

We have. It's LTE leading to LTE Advanced.

The problem is that the various countires worldwide do not have available spectrum in the same place. This is an admin problem for operators/regulators, not a technical one.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41300899)

The iPad 3 supported LTE - but only on 700MHz, not the 1800MHz band that's the most popular. That's a hardware issue, nothing to do with the operators/regulators.

Re:frequency band? (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about a year and a half ago | (#41303165)

The iPad 3 also supports the 1700 MHz (AWS) LTE band, or it wouldn't work in Canada (700 MHz wasn't auctionned yet).

Changing supported bands isn't hard. Many manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC ships different products for differents countries and the only difference is the supported bands.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41308825)

Okay, so they slapped together the RF circuitry for the iPad 3, went to the lab to measure it, and... "Oh shit guys, it turned out to be 700MHz!" Definitely a hardware issue then.

Or could it possibly be that 700MHz is the nationwide band that was auctioned in the US, and they adapted to that reality when they designed the device? In this case the auction would be the thing that has everything to do with the operators/regulators.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41299563)

However it is rumoured that the iPhone 5 is to have "worldwide" support. Guess we'll find out tomorrow.

The fallout of the iPad advertising blunder might well have pushed their engineers to add support for the other LTE remaining bands to the new iPhone.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41298769)

Finally the UK is catching up to the US

Re:frequency band? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41298867)

Sadly it seems the delays are due to legal bickering putting back the spectrum auction.

EE have found they have a bunch of spare spectrum as a result of the merger (they also sold some to Three, so expect a limited LTE service from them as well soon). They decided to launch it now, and the industry regulator recognised that it would harm consumers to not allow them to start offering a solution before the auction occurred.

The actual auction will be occurring next year as a result of the bickering from the network operators. Who are now bickering that EE are being allowed to launch a service. Well, sucks eh - that's what happens when you bicker about things instead of doing things.

Re:frequency band? (2)

Michael Wardle (50363) | about a year and a half ago | (#41299043)

The press release doesn't say, but they got approval to use 1800 MHz for LTE recently, so I assume it must be 1800.

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120821-700757.html [wsj.com]
http://www.zdnet.com/uk/4g-decision-annoys-everything-everywheres-rivals-but-it-will-benefit-consumers-7000002942/ [zdnet.com]

Re:frequency band? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41299265)

Yes, it's 1800. It is actually part of their old 2G spectrum, which they are re-using for 4G. The other carriers are annoyed because they have to wait for the real 4G spectrum auctions, which IIRC, were once part of the analogue TV signal. I get the feeling that anyone buying a 4G/LTE phone SIM free will have to check very carefully whether it will work with their carrier of choice. As far as I can see, there are currently no phones that will support what EE are doing in the UK. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41299395)

The 1800 MHz Band is one of the three bands that Europe is standardizing on: 800, 1800 and 2600MHz. Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile is for example currently roling out a 1800 MHz network in 100 cities in Germany. Basically all LTE smartphones now headed for the European market support 800/1800/2600 MHz.

In fact, I read that the 1800 MHz band is probably destined to become one of the most important international roaming bands, since it is also used many Asian countries and eg Australia. After all, it is already reserved for mobile phone use almost everwhere outside of North and South America.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41300985)

As the other commenter stated, 1800 is becoming one of the main bands used for LTE. Most LTE phones currently on the market support it.

EE's own offering will include Nokias Lumia 820 & 920, Samsung's Galaxy S III LTE; HTC's One XL and Huawei's Ascend P1 LTE.

Re:frequency band? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310343)

The networks only have themselves to blame. The auction was supposed to happen years ago but constant bickering delayed it. Now one of the networks is in a position to launch and now some networks, who have failed to invest in even 3G (i.e. O2 and Vodafone) are throwing even more toys out the pram.

jews did wtc (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41298731)

your annual reminder.

Support Hamas' fight against the zionist reigime.

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Not the first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41298761)

It's already been done, in a data-only sense (which submitter's title suggests was their most vital factor of the service, anyway.)

See: UKNOF22 [uknof.org.uk] presentation archive, particularly 'LTE Trials and Commercial Deployment' (Leigh Porter, UK Broadband).

Re:Not the first (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year and a half ago | (#41299283)

UK Broadband have been here operating in Birmingham for well over a year now and have been testing LTE Advanced.

Is EE using LTE or are they deploying LTE Advanced? A conference I attended a year ago O2 and Three were going to roll out LTE-A, they weren't too worried about the late spectrum auction as LTE-A was still in the lab at the time.

"support phones including the expected iPhone 5" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41298839)

Really? Does the OP work for Apple or can s/he see into the future? Do tell more!

LTE? (2)

jaweekes (938376) | about a year and a half ago | (#41299055)

But is it 4G LTE (100mb/s) or actual 4G (1000mb/s)? I think it's LTE but nothing seems to specify which one it is.

Re:LTE? (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#41300109)

Where do you get "1000mb/s" for "4G"? And you do realize the "4G LTE" moniker merely means "We're actually running LTE, not HSPA+, to provide our fourth generation network", right? It has nothing to do with different versions of LTE.

And yes, I'm aware there's some controversy on whether early versions of LTE count as "4G" (which is ridiculous, because 4G is not a synonym for IMT Advanced, and virtually everyone who pisses into that particular pool relies upon the assumption it is), but that's not what the "4G LTE" thing refers to.

Here's the deal: LTE is a high throughput mobile network standard that supplies all services over IP. It's certainly next generation. LTE-Advanced is a tweaked version of LTE (which includes a necessary increase in data rate) to conform to IMT Advanced, the requirement list the ITU put together to define their next generation of networks. LTE Advanced absolutely conforms to IMT Advanced.

Because early versions of LTE didn't quite reach IMT Advanced rates, an enhancement to UMTS, called HSPA+, was put forward as a legitimate alternative, as it reached similar data rates and it too could be run in an IP-only mode. That's what lead to the arguments, which lead Verizon and AT&T to start branding 4G and "4G LTE" as separate things.

But that's it. "4G LTE" is not "a version of LTE that's not 4G", it's a branding that includes LTE in its basic next generation form, and LTE-Advanced.

Re:LTE? (1)

jaweekes (938376) | about a year and a half ago | (#41300363)

Sorry for my mistake. I got the numbers from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4G [wikipedia.org] using the peek download speed, and I used 1000mb/s instead of 1Gb/s to show the difference better.

Here's the sections I based my "true 4G" comment on:
Since the above mentioned first-release versions of Mobile WiMAX and LTE support much less than 1 Gbit/s peak bit rate, they are not fully IMT-Advanced compliant, but are often branded 4G by service providers. On December 6, 2010, ITU-R recognized that these two technologies, as well as other beyond-3G technologies that do not fulfill the IMT-Advanced requirements, could nevertheless be considered "4G", provided they represent forerunners to IMT-Advanced compliant versions and "a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed".

After that I really don't give a @#$! since this is /. and everyone will say that the sky is brown to make someone else look like an idiot.

Re:LTE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41301147)

LTE-Advanced can read 3Gb/s download 1.5Gb/s upload. LTE-A does fulfill IMT-Advanced. The 4G LTE moniker can legitimately include LTE-Advanced. Although in this case probably doesn't.

To quote another comment on here:

Is EE using LTE or are they deploying LTE Advanced? A conference I attended a year ago O2 and Three were going to roll out LTE-A, they weren't too worried about the late spectrum auction as LTE-A was still in the lab at the time.

Now you might say that EE are probably only rolling out plain LTE initially. However they're similar enough the equipment is probably the pretty much the same (it's basically the same protocol, just faster with some additional bolt ons). It would not make any sense for EE to roll out a LTE network and then have to spend the same money all over again in a year or two to upgrade everything to LTE-A just to remain competitive/relevant. So it would make a lot of sense for them to be rolling out now either LTE-A or at the very least LTE-A capable equipment.

4G? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41299067)

4G? Really? Around here they just renamed 3G to 4G.

Blocked ports? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year and a half ago | (#41299139)

T-Mobile block SIP, and if I remember correctly, Orange block SMTP that doesn't go through their mail servers. Does anybody know what the situation is with EE?

Re:Blocked ports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41299231)

EE blocks people who talk about blocking. So you are already blocked. So am I, but I am not in the UK so it doesn't matter to me.

Re:Blocked ports? (3, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#41299503)

Orange block SMTP that goes through port 25 but not their mail servers; they will allow you to add email addresses to a list that will be passed through their system unmolested.

Having spoken to Orange tech support, they were quite clear that port 25 was filtered, and that wasn't going to change. There was absolutely no way to get my mail sent on port 25 without passing through their servers. I thanked the tech support guy for his help, having spotted what he was saying between the lines.

Here's a hint - these days, most people should be using SSL or TLS with SMTP...

Re:Blocked ports? (1)

OdinOdin_ (266277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41305611)

Well you should be using port 587 (with or without SSL via STARTTLS command). Maybe one day they will also block port 465 (for the same reasons as port 25). But I can't see them ever blocking 587 as one of the expectations of that port is that you must authenticate to send anything. I've seen some mobile devices default to port 587 already.

Running a mail transport agent (i.e. a system that routes email like Sendmail or MS Exchange) on the end of a charagble per Mb network is a bad idea of everyone.

The sender might incur high costs to themselves when they get their recent outbreak of malware on their portable device.

The receiving email systems have no way to correctly identify the sender is genuine (i.e. not a spammer) or build a rapport with them. This is because mobile use of Internet is usually a via a one-way NAT from a dynamic/random IP. There are also no identying marks to relate one client to another. So in short you are a bad sender of email to a 3rd party that is looking to reduce their risk of SPAM.

While I don't like the idea of such blocking. I can understand the reasons for it. It is best you send all your emails from the mobile device via a system with a static IP and an accountable systems administrator. That could be orange's mail service but it can also be a 3rd part SMTP service using STARTTLS on port 587 Orange won't stop you.

Re:Blocked ports? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309751)

Well yeah, exactly - this is what the tech support guy was "saying without saying".

It's worth noting that they block outgoing 25 on ADSL too, presumably for the same reason. There are too many Windows machines still sitting there in people's houses hooked up to ADSL, and every one pumping out spam.

Re:Blocked ports? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41299911)

Just to clarify (in case anybody asks), Orange also block Skype.

Re:Blocked ports? (1)

trigpoint (1230530) | about a year and a half ago | (#41302259)

Just to clarify (in case anybody asks), Orange also block Skype.

But T-Mobile don't. There is not yet an EE network, as far as I (as a T-Mobile customer) can see it is just a roaming at present. On my phone I can see which network I am using, internet conectivity seems to work better when connected to T-Mobile.

Re:Blocked ports? (1)

tendrousbeastie (961038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41301781)

Vodafone block TLS for FTP (but not for SMTP oddly).

I have to go through a VPN to connect to certain FTP servers.

Gets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41299175)

I will believe that the UK has finally got 4G when I can drop in to a phone shop and buy a 4G handset or but a 4G dongle for my netbook.

At the moment, all we have is announcements and promises.

wait... (1)

Captain.Abrecan (1926372) | about a year and a half ago | (#41300333)

I thought the spectrum for 4G hasn't been defined yet, meaning that technically it doesn't exist? This is the argument offered up for criticizing advertising previously; when we see 4G advertised everywhere here in the US, because it doesn't exist yet.

Re:wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41301277)

4G protocols exist. Several bands are currently in use. Handsets/dongles exist using those bands.

Hardware actually supporting every band in use is one issue (the iPad3 only does LTE on 700MHz while most handsets do multiple LTE bands including 800/1800/2600). 1800 is rapidly becoming the favourite and EE in the UK will be using it.

The only handicap right now is the regulators who grant licenses to operators to use bands of the radio spectrum for their services. That's a slow and long-winded process and requires anything else (eg analog TV) to be scrapped first to free up enough space. This is probably what you're thinking of.

They were planning to auction off analog TV's bands (having finally gone dark in the UK a few months ago). Technically no such auctioning of the spectrum have happened in the UK yet. EE have jumped ahead by getting permission to reuse a large band they already had for 2G (mostly having enough spectrum because they're the result of a merger of 2 of the largest UK networks - Orange & TMobile). The other networks understandably aren't happy at all about this, as the regulator hasn't begun the 4G auction process yet so they're unable to setup their own competing 4G service - which essentially is giving EE a monopoly on 4G in the UK for the next 1-2 years.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41300785)

Why is this needed. The current 7Mb/sec 3G is plenty fast if you can get signal.
People want 100% coverage, not insane 100Mb speeds.

But it isn't 4G!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41301565)

But this isn't 4G as the 4G spectrum is due to be auctioned off in early 2013. Instead this is an older spectrum that will be re-used and called 4G, but it does not follow the standard.

If you were to use a 4G phone that followed the standard, there is no guarantee that it would actually work.

Don't believe the hype here folks!!!!

Re:But it isn't 4G!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41302345)

But this isn't 4G as the 4G spectrum is due to be auctioned off in early 2013. Instead this is an older spectrum that will be re-used and called 4G, but it does not follow the standard.

If you were to use a 4G phone that followed the standard, there is no guarantee that it would actually work.

Don't believe the hype here folks!!!!

The old spectrum which is reused is the GSM band on 1800 MHz ("DCS-1800"). This band is identical to the LTE band III, which is used (or planned to be used) all over Europe and in many other countries. Basically all the new LTE smartphones coming to the European market support it (eg the new Nokia Lumias, or the EU LTE version of the Galaxy SIII).

Re:But it isn't 4G!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41308871)

As someone who has actually read the standard (unlike you), let me bring you news of the amazing discovery of dozens of frequency bands in it. Many of them coincide with bands that can also be used in older standards. And they're not categorized as "real" and "not real", they just have numbers.

Finally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41304385)

They still haven't figured out how they're going to do a voice call on LTE, what is this "finally"?

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