U.K. citizens are about to get a pretty massive boost to their 4G speeds. Network provider EE has announced that it is rolling out Cat 9 devices to a number of U.K. cities as early as this year. What does that mean? Speeds of up to a massive 450Mbps.
London, Birmingham, and Manchester will all get support for the new internet speeds before the end of 2016, meaning that devices that support the speed, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 7, will be able to finally take advantage of it.
“There’s no point having the latest smartphones on a network that can’t support the top speeds the device is capable of,” said EE in a statement. “We’ve invested in our network to ensure that all of our customers get the most out of the amazing smartphones they have, and can keep up with the highest speeds that the latest devices offer.”
So, will users actually get 450Mbps speeds out in the real world? Perhaps not that high, but EE claims real-world tests with the HTC 10 yielded speeds of 360Mbps. That’s significantly faster than what we have today, and even faster than what most home internet networks are capable of.
Cat 9 is able to reach these new speeds due to a number of factors — the network uses a blend of different spectrums in different bandwidths, and Cat 9-capable phones can take advantage of all of those frequencies. Phones without Cat 9 capabilities may only be able to use some of the frequencies, which is why they won’t achieve speeds as high.
Of course, Cat 9 devices will still be able to connect to other networks that aren’t EE — they just won’t get EE’s blazingly fast speeds. Cat 9 has actually already been rolled out in some places, such as at the Wembley Stadium. By the end of 2017, EE expected to have Cat 9 ready to go in more than 500 areas.