QualcommSan Diego – based Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, EE and Sony Mobile Communications today showcased Europe’s first commercial Gigabit LTE/4G mobile device and network.

During the event, the companies showcased the benefits of Gigabit LTE in four real-life use cases:
1) streaming 4K HDR10 content from Amazon Prime
2) speed improvements for downloading large files via Google Drive
3) download of music/video files for offline use, and
4) a network simulation showcasing the network-wide benefits of deploying Gigabit LTE.

At the Wembley Stadium showcase, live upload speeds of 110Mbps and download speeds of 750Mbps were demonstrated – more than twice as fast as the UK’s fastest commercial fibre broadband offering.

EE has switched on the latest upgrades to its 4G network in Cardiff and London’s Tech City, and will be rolling out to more major cities throughout 2017 and 2018. Real world speeds of 428Mbps were demonstrated in Cardiff City Centre to mark the launch of Sony’s flagship Xperia XZ Premium smartphone.

EE was the first network in the UK to support ‘Cat 9’ mobile devices, in September 2016, and is extending its network leadership by being the first to support ‘Cat 16’ mobile devices with Gigabit LTE.

Announced at MWC 2017 and launched in June this year, Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium is the first Gigabit LTE enabled smartphone. Powered by Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform, the XZ Premium is also the first smartphone to feature a 4K HDR display  offering intensely vivid colours and breath-taking clarity. Its Gigabit LTE performance, enabled by the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem integrated into the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform, allows smartphone users to stream and watch high-quality 4K HDR resolution content on their mobile for the first time. Available to stream now are select Amazon Original Series via Amazon Prime Video in 4K HDR, with more 4K HDR content coming soon.

Roberto Di Pietro, vice president, business development, Qualcomm Europe Inc, says, “We are proud to support the development of commercial Gigabit LTE in Europe in conjunction with EE and Sony Mobile, enabled by the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform. Gigabit LTE is not simply about headline data download speeds, it’s about bringing real-life benefits to the everyday user, regardless of the device they are using right now and forms the first major step towards 5G. It is exciting to see the culmination of all these technologies coming to life in Europe, as the first commercial devices capable of delivering this incredible user experience start to enter the industry.”

Tom Bennett, director, network services and devices, EE, said, “Peak speeds get all the headlines, and their importance is simple: the higher the peak speed on our network, the better the average speed for every customer. And better average throughput means customers are doing more and getting their content more quickly and more consistently – and that means they’re happier. We will keep investing to stay at the cutting edge of network and device technology so that our customers keep getting the best possible network experience. Working with the best technology companies across the mobile industry is vital to that.”

Warren Saunders, country head, UK and Ireland, Sony Mobile Communications, said, “Our customers are increasingly demanding more from their Xperia smartphones; faster connections, 4K quality content, sharper camera shots, and more. To meet their expectations, it’s essential our devices have the processing and performance power to provide quality mobile experiences. The XZ Premium is the first smartphone with a 4K HDR screen, and with Gigabit LTE we have the speed to allow seamless streaming of 4K content, or download large files for offline viewing.”

Ben Wood, chief of research, CCS Insight, said, “The insatiable desire for ever faster mobile speeds and increased network capacity is a driving force for technologies such as gigabit LTE. It’s exciting to see the technology being deployed in the UK providing a clear stepping stone towards 5G technology.”

Gigabit LTE is enabled by LTE Advanced features including 4×4 MIMO, 3xCA (Three Carrier Aggregation) and 256-QAM higher order modulation. Gigabit LTE capability, which has been pioneered by Qualcomm Technologies is an essential pillar for the 5G mobile experience as the high-speed coverage layer that co-exists and interworks with nascent 5G networks.

Gigabit LTE is about more than just peak speeds. It is also about delivering more network capacity, to benefit all users in the network, not only those users with Gigabit LTE devices. A Gigabit LTE mobile device will complete downloads and uploads significantly faster, freeing up network resources to be available for other users.

By Zen Chi

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