EE 4G mobile broadband roadmap in UK #LTE-A #mobilebroadband

EE4G4G speeds continue to grow in the UK as EE trial LTE-A 300Mbps.

Sat in an interesting talk at UKNOF27 given by Bob Sleigh of EE. You will know that EE were the first of the mobile operators to sell 4G services in the UK. Bob told us that by the end of 2013 EE 4G services have reached 66% of the UK population with 98% potentially covered by the end of 2014. This represents the fastest rollout of 4G services in any country anywhere and EE now claim that the UK has moved from a mobile backwater to one of the world’s leading implementers.

This claim of world leadership is likely to be on the back of EE’s Techcity LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) trials (November 2013) which saw maximum 4G speeds of 296Mbps. EE expect to roll out LTE-A services in 2014.

I did ask about the market for such high speed mobile services, especially considering that to obtain such speeds must consume a significant amount of the available spectrum at any cell site.  After all you aren’t going to need 300Mbps on your mobile phone.

The answer is of course business. For example when you see live news reports streamed from a location – live coverage of incidents in London say – these are typically streamed over 4G networks. The demand from this type of customer is going to increase as technologies such as 8K become available.

The chart below, taken from Bob Sleigh’s presentation, is a really good illustration of the mobile technology roadmap.


You can see that today we are at typical 4G speeds of 16 – 24Mbps with a max achievable 100 – 150Mbps. EE quoted 20Mbps for a 4K video stream (this is subject to debate) which suggests that LTE-A is needed with it’s higher typical speeds of 30 – 50Mbps.

EE expect to introduce LTE-A to commercial deployment in 2014. Presumably the first customers will be London based media organisations.

The issue of providing customers with a good Quality of Experience when streaming video is something the industry is trying to get to grips with. There are a lot of technology stakeholders involved in the whole ecosystem.

mobile_bandwidth_football_matchA good example of why this is a problem can be seen in the above photo of growth in mobile bandwidth usage at football matches. The chart shows EE network bandwidth usage in Manchester during two premiership matches – Manchester United versus Liverpool and Arsenal v Manchester City. The red line represents the usage on match day and the blue the previous week where no games were being played. EE have removed the Y scale but we only need to compare the two.

Interesting to see people start to watch sport streaming on their mobile devices whilst the games are in play and the dip at half time as people presumably left the advertising and “expert commentary” and went to get a cup of tea.

The point is that this type of event is driving use of video over the mobile networks. Mobile video is still pretty inflexible. When you watch BBC iPlayer the video stream rate adapts to fit the bandwidth available. Mobile video historically doesn’t do this even though it’s an obvious thing to do. Mobile networks like certainty and use of adaptive codecs means that they won’t know how much bandwidth to serve per stream – they need to keep a handle on capacity demand.

Progress is being made. For example use of the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) has halved the bandwidth used by previous incumbent AVC (Advanced Video Coding) codec. One the other hand as the bearer technology gets faster (LTE-A) people want to stream higher quality video such as 4K which eats up any savings achieved by using HEVC.

The punters aren’t of course interested in the detail of how it works. They just want to watch the video. The man in the street is also unlikely to be using LTE-A anytime soon although they may well watch the news streamed using the technology.

It is however nice to be able to look at technology developments in the UK and see that we are beginning to compete again globally. With today’s BT announcement re the 1.4Tbps routing over fibre it’s a good time to be in the connectivity industry in the UK.

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7 thoughts on “Should badgers get the vote and other jolly wheezes #banthecull

  1. Chris Conder says:

    Its great that badgers, gay marriage, corrupt bankers etc get discussed, especially at school where young brains can be brought into play, but school is a big influence on youngsters. I remember a discussion where we were asked which newspapers we had in our house. (this is 55 years ago) and the teacher said the news of the world wasn’t fit to read. Since then I haven’t been able to read that paper and used to flinch if I saw it in someone’s house.
    Regarding the badger cull, this is a very emotional area.
    If it is to be discussed then the rural angle has to come into it, not just the emotional one. Badgers are very cute.
    We are farmers. We have had a badger sett here for years. We leave them alone, they do no harm, they are healthy. If we found out they had TB we would have culled. (in the days when it was allowed) That would have prevented them passing the disease to other setts, and to our cows and other animals. That is what used to happen, the rural people, farmers, gamekeepers etc kept the disease under control and protected the species.
    Now with all the do gooders the disease is rife, and there is no way vaccination can protect them. You can vaccinate farmed animals but not wild ones.
    We wouldn’t hesitate to exterminate rats, mice, termites, ants, slugs and snails, or wipe out a colony of wasps. Just because a badger is cute we are squeamish.
    I think debate is good, and information from all angles is essential, but the fact remains that one has to put one’s own house in order before pontificating on things we don’t have a full grasp of. Leave the management of the countryside to those who understand nature, and have looked after it for generations. They know their onions. And those in defra who think they know should be made to live and work in the environment they are making rules and regulations about, because it is becoming increasingly obvious they haven’t a clue. No farmer would kill healthy badgers, its the worst thing you can do, because a healthy badger keeps others out. If you cull the sett then a diseased family could move in.

  2. Chris Conder says:

    Am adding this comment for another person who asked me to run a ‘survey’ on facebook. I think it will do better on this blog, and especially if Tref can get it into the hat at school again!

    Here it is:
    Sent from Windows Mail
    Morning Chris

    As a Farmers Wife what is your take on the Badger problem?
    I’ve just got back from Marlborough and read in the paper that to date it has cost over 7m pounds to kill 1.771 badgers that’s £4,100 each. this is due to the red tape that involves the do-gooders who must have no idea on the damage that badgers are doing to the environment let alone the disputed loss of livestock due to TB infection
    Skylarks and other ground nesting birds are being decimated plus hedgehogs are now in decline to say they are not a menace or on the increase is hiding once head in the sand. Whilst out stalking in one area I counted 20. The damage they do to the ground in an area where horse riding and training is a major business and occupation is unbelievable . The so called advisers are not even involved with the Countryside management system only sticking there oar in on a Wind in the Willows sentimentality
    With your experience on Facebook do a ’feel’ for general opinion

  3. Trefor Davies Trefor Davies says:

    I’m not sure i fully understand this last comment. Is Len saying that badgers are a nuisance and are damaging to skylarks, hedgehogs and the rural economy or is it the red tape bearing do-gooders?

    1. Chris Conder says:

      Not sure either Tref, I just copied and pasted his email. I think he could mean both 😉 I have sent him this link so maybe he will chip in and clarify.

  4. MarkJ says:

    Well most of us will be dead anyway once this global climate of warming change thing kicks in, decimates the food stocks, ruins the economy and makes it really tough to live. So I think we should nuke the badgers in order to stop them becoming the new master race.

    But on a note of sanity, I live in an urban area and I work in an urban area but I trust rural farmers to have a better grasp on problems over their side of the fence than I or any city politician ever could. So if farming folk say this is a problem and Badgers aren’t rare then why not? Alternatively we could re-introduce Wolves and I’m sure that wouldn’t create any problems; we could always hire Liam Neeson if it did.

    At the end of the day there are bigger problems in the world and if Badgers need to be controlled then let’s make badger burgers and have a BBQ with them.

  5. PhilT says:

    In the 70s MAFF used to gas badgers, badgers were rare, hedgehogs common and TB was under control with lots of small dairy farms TB Tested.

    Now badgers and TB are everywhere, and hedgehogs are rare. Big dairy farms suffer large financial losses if they get a TB reactor. Grazing land and lawns are ripped up by badgers looking for food.

    The “professionally” organised cull is expensive because it’s easy to take money off civil servants, the whole thing is too bureaucratic and the animal rights fanatics need police protection instead of taking their chance with a .22 rifleman in the dark.

  6. Len says:

    In reply to Trefor
    Badgers eat ground nesting birds eggs and chicks plus hedgehogs that is the jist of my comments
    Red tape you get anywhere

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