EE Network Introduction


EE is a multi-play UK telecommunications service provider which contemporaneously focuses on mobile and fixed line services. EE was formed in 2010 as a joint venture of Orange and T-Mobile and became the first UK operator to launch 4G on 30 October 2012 through the refarming of 1800MHz. In January 2016 EE was acquired by BT and has since became part of BT's consumer portfolio which operates the three brands BT, EE and Plusnet.

EE Frequencies and Bands

EE currently operates 2G, 4G and 5G radio access technologies on a range of bands. 2G uses 1800MHz (Band 3), 4G 800MHz (Band 20), 1800MHz (Band 3), 2100MHz (Band 1), 2600MHz (Band 7) while 5G is on 700MHz (Band 28), 1800MHz (Band 3), 2100MHz (Band 1), 2600MHz (Band 7) and 3500MHz, 3600MHz (NR Band 78). For more information, check out the "Commercial Mobile Frequency Deployment in the UK" page.

Spectrum Usage Broad Overview

1800MHz 2G+4G is broadly considered to be the network's base layer. 2100MHz and/or 2600MHz 4G are deployed in highly loaded locations. 800MHz is generally used to improve coverage edges, although it can be the only deployed spectrum in locations of extreme rurality. 5G rollout commenced in predominantly urban areas with 40MHz Band 78 NR in NSA configuration alongside 4G. In the subsequent years, 5G NSA with NR on Bands 28, 1, 3 and 7 has been commercially launched. Band 28 and Band 1 5G is a available in both urban and rural areas where 3 and 7 are more commonly seen in built up areas.

EE Carrier Aggregation

EE operates up to seven 4G carriers in each FDD direction, helping support over gigabit 4G capability. Modern devices support five way downlink carrier aggregation, typically meaning maximum bandwidth aggregation is Bands 1+3+3+7+7 for 95MHz spectrum from 20MHz, 20MHz, 20MHz, 20MHz, 15MHz respective carrier bandwidths. In the uplink, uplink aggregation of two carriers is available for a maximum of 40MHz uplink.

EE 4x4 MIMO Configuration

4x4 MIMO is deployed increasingly on 1800MHz+2100MHz, 2600MHz. Having initially been limited to very busy sites, it is now spreading across the network as sites are modernised with RRUs that readily support 4T4R.

256QAM Downlink, 64QAM Uplink, 256QAM Uplink

256QAM downlink and 64QAM uplink are ubiquitous across the network. 256QAM uplink is even available in some areas.

Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL)

MBNL is a 50/50 joint venture between EE and 3. While historically it has supported a 3G MORAN (multi-operator radio access network) share, the two operators are increasingly only structure sharing. This is especially true with EE's 3G network switch off being announced as complete and Three's well underway.

IMS: VoLTE/WiFi Calling

EE supports IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) services WiFi Calling and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and VoLTE is available on all bands. From 9th June 2021, IMS rollout on PAYG started. MVNO support varies.

Voice codecs

For IMS customers calling from and to appropriate devices, Enhanced Voice Services Super Wideband (EVS-SWB) is available for direct customers. Otherwise Adaptive Multi-Rate narrowband (AMR-NB) at 12.2kbps and Wideband (AMR-WB) at 12.65kbps are the standard codecs depending on the situation.


What bands does my device need to work on EE

Answer: For the best network experience, your device needs to support all of: 2G, 4G, 5G 1800MHz (Band 3); 4G, 5G 2100MHz (Band 1); 4G 800MHz (Band 20); 4G, 5G 2600MHz; 5G 700MHz (band 28) and 5G 3500-3800MHz (NR Band 78) alongside appropriate VoLTE and 5G enablement. 1800MHz 2G+4G support is the absolute minimum to be able to use the network in most places however.

Last update

May 2024

Updated to include details about 3G switch off, removing 3G from spectrum usage and updating other relevant sections with this information. Further clarification about VoLTE and codecs added.