UK MOBILE OPERATOR EE brought its 4G network to 11 UK cities on Tuesday, promising to give punters mobile internet speeds three times faster than those available on a 3G connection.
The INQUIRER has been lucky enough to get its mitts on one of the network's first 4G smartphones, the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.
Our shiny new Huawei Ascend P1 LTE came with a 4G SIM from EE, which brings up a 4G logo on the top of the handset's screen, something we've been waiting for years to see.
The first thing we did when we got our hands on the phone was to put it through its paces using the Speed Test app. On average, we've been getting speeds of between 18Mbit/s and 22Mbit/s here at The INQUIRER towers in central London, and slightly less when in East London. Upload speeds have been wavering between 6Mbit/s and 13Mbit/s.
These speeds are extremely impressive, especially when compared to the 8Mbit/s and 0.7Mbit/s download and upload speeds we're getting on our 3G Iphone 5 handset.
So, how does that translate to the real world? We accessed The INQUIRER website on the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE's stock Android web browser, and it loaded almost instantly, putting our non-4G Iphone to shame. We also downloaded the BBC Iplayer application, which was fully downloaded and installed on our handset in approximately two seconds.
Streaming TV shows on the app was just as good too, and we experienced no buffering or lag whatsoever.
This might all sound pretty postitive, but we can't help but worry. Our main concern is that as more and more people join EE's network these speeds will slowly start to drop. When we tested out EE's 4G connectivity at the network's launch event a few weeks ago, we reported speeds of around 38Mbit/s, almost double the speeds we're receiving now. Sure, this might be based on our location, but it has got us worried nonetheless.
EE's pricing is another issue. If the pricing was reasonable, we'd be more than happy to cough up for 22Mbit/s speeds. But, as you're probably more than aware, it's not. EE is asking £56 a month for 8GB of monthly data, equating to around £1,344 over the course of a two-year contract.
Those after the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE can opt for a cheaper £41 contract with 1GB of data per month, but given the speeds that we've been getting, that won't get you far on the web.
Still, if you've got deep pockets and you're after a speedy mobile web browsing experience, EE's 4G LTE network isn't going to disappoint. Not for a few months yet, at least. µ