EE trials 4G speeds of 400Mbps at Wembley stadium


One year since operators partnership with FA saw its branding added to Wembley stadium

EE has trialled 4G download speeds of up to 400Mbps during trials at Wembley stadium held yesterday (February 26).

The demonstration used chip maker, Qualcomm’s CAT 9 technology which aggregates three bands of spectrum (20MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum and two 15GHz lots of 2.6GHz spectrum) to achieve the speeds.

EE says the tech will be used to provide more capability and capacity at the stadium during busy events. It would deliver real-time speeds of around 50-70 Mbps to attendees at the 90,000 capacity venue when it is rolled out some time in 2016.

The technology was revealed a year to the day that EE announced a partnership with the operator that saw its branding added to Wembley stadium, with the ambition of making it the “most connected” in the world.

“We are seeing peaks of 400Mbps but consistently 380Mbps,” EE special projects manager Adis Omeragic told Mobile News. “It’s about servicing that crowd out there with a great experience for everyone – to do that you need capacity.

“I’d expect people in the bowl to get 50-70Mbps when this goes live. At the moment (with regular 4G technology), when the stadium is full, we are regularly seeing peaks of 30Mbps in the stadium. Most applications don’t need that but it is all about having the capacity to serve more people when it is required.”

He added that the technology was likely to roll out in London but a full commercial rollout to every site was unlikely as there were no capacity requirements for rural areas.

EE had a number of screens at the event held at Wembley to showcase the services it could deliver over the high-speed network including 4k streaming and HD audio.

The trial follows on from EE’s launch of 4G+ late last year, which delivers real-world speeds of up to 150Mbps by using two bands of spectrum (20 MHz in both 1.8MHz and 2.6GHz bands). Theoretically, 4G+ can produce speeds of up to 300Mbps.

The service, which has only launched in Central London, will be switched on in Wembley from late March. It will begin covering seated areas of the stadium with the operator adding the concourses before the year is out.

The operator also confirmed that it was putting the final touches on the technology that will open up 4G in the stadium to customers of other networks.

“At the moment, 4G is only on EE in the bowl,” added Omeragic. “We are now finishing the technology that will open up 4G to all UK operators. They’ll have to have an agreement with us – that’s their decision – but the technology will be available.”

The operator also said that it was on track to help Wembley become the best connected stadium in the world, twelve months into its partnership.

“We’re not very far behind some of the US stadiums who have had 4G for years,” said senior PR manager Howard Jones. “The distance we’ve come in a year is pretty amazing and there’s no doubt that the ambition of being the best connected stadium will be realised.”