EE 5G '5GEE' Introduction
EE acquired 40MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum for 5G use in April 2018. In the time since, they have stated they will launch 5G in 2019 in London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester, with additional roll out to Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol [EE Media Image]. As of April 2019, EE has been marketing the future network with the term '5GEE' which follws from the use of '4GEE' for their 4G. At the OnePlus event on 14th May, it was announced that EE would launch 5G imminently. EE have two site architectures which will be descirbed here: Massive MIMO and 8T8R.
22nd May 2019 5G Press Event
Key points from the press event, which can be found on EE's Newsroom: EE 5G will be launched on 30th May in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester with smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, and Oppo. EE "expects customers to experience an increase in speeds of around 100-150Mbps" , suggesting that, at least some, "customers will break the one gigabit-per-second milestone on their 5G smartphones". A number of additional locations, earmarked for rollout in 2020, were also mentioned: Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Worcester and Wolverhampton.
5G '5GEE' 8T8R
EE's main 5G approach seen is 8T8R. This has less coverage and less capacity than Massive MIMO (below) but the EMF emission is lower and it can be less challenging to add to masts (weight and windloading), which enables a much faster rollout. These examples in Hull and Manchester use Huawei RRU 5258 for 8T8R N78 and Huawei AOC4518r8v06 antennas to carry the 5G and 2G/3G/4G.
A fully wired EE 5G '5GEE' example in the Marfleet area of Hull.
Huawei 5258 for 8T8R N78 behind Huawei AOC4518r8v06 antenna on this '5GEE' mast.
A fully wired EE 5G '5GEE' example on Manchester's Bower Street.
This EE 5G '5GEE' example has an RRU 5258 and AOC but not connected.
Specifications sheet for the Huawei AOC 4518R8v06 antenna used for EE 8T8R 5G.
5G '5GEE' Massive MIMO
In central London, such as near St Paul's, EE use Massive MIMO for their 5G. Deploying the 5G spectrum with Massive MIMO enables huge amounts of capacity to be provided to an area, while also achieving a pleasing range of coverage considering the higher frequencies compared to 4G.
The 5G Massive MIMO Panel (Huawei AAU5613) is on the left. Top middle is the GPS antenna and right is an unwired Huawei ATR for the LTE (4G) anchor.