EE is bringing a big boost to indoor 5G with 700MHz spectrum

2 November 2021

ee 700mhz spectrum

EE’s 5G service has been rapidly expanding since its launch in 2019, but you’re more likely to get 5G outside than inside, and this is something EE is now addressing, as it has switched on indoor 5G at more than 50 sites across the UK.

The network hasn’t said which sites, but in a previous announcement the company said that Redditch, Morecambe and Cramlington would be among the first, and this move both brings indoor 5G to places that don’t already have it, and strengthens it in areas that do.

EE has achieved this using the 700MHz spectrum that it acquired at the latest 5G spectrum auction. This spectrum is lower frequency than most 5G spectrum, which makes it better both at travelling over long distances (so it’s good in rural locations) and at penetrating buildings.

The high frequency bands typically used by 5G meanwhile can struggle far more than 4G and 3G bands at penetrating buildings, so without bands such as the 700MHz one, 5G would have a real problem on its hands.

On the other hand, low frequency spectrum isn’t generally available in very high capacities, which can limit its performance, which is why it’s not the main part of 5G networks. But this issue can be reduced by combining multiple lower frequencies, such as the 700MHz and 800MHz bands, through carrier aggregation.

Lots more work to do

Presumably EE will continue expanding its 700MHz reach to more areas, and by extension continue improving indoor 5G coverage, especially as it has access to a fairly hefty 40MHz of 700MHz spectrum, but the company is staying very vague about the where and when of it all.

Still, its overall 5G ambitions are clear, with EE reiterating that it plans to bring 5G to half of the UK’s population by 2023, and to offer 5G everywhere in the UK (through a combination of normal network coverage and on-demand solutions) by 2028. So it’s got a lot of work to do.

Editorial Manager

James has been writing for us for over 10 years. Currently, he is Editorial Manager for our group of companies ( 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk) and sub-editor at TechRadar. He specialises in smartphones, mobile networks/ technology, tablets, and wearables.

In the past, James has also written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media, Smart TV Radar, and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV. He has a film studies degree from the University of Kent, Canterbury, and has over a decade’s worth of professional writing experience.

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