Canadian carrier, Bell, has started to roll out its LTE Advanced network, which has a theoretical maximum download speed of 220 Mbps. Bell goes on to say that this makes their LTE Advanced network one of the fastest in the world and it uses a blend of high performance 2,600 MHz Band 7 spectrum together with carrier aggregation between Band 4 (AWS) and Band 2 (PCS). Other networks’ 225 Mbps implementation involves using 30 MHz of spectrum, as each 10 MHz of spectrum allows a download speed of 75 Mbps. The company reports that the new LTE Advanced network is rolling out in selected regions for the time being such as London, Fredericton, Sydney, Charlottetown and Halifax. It will be rolled out to other parts of Canada in due course. According to Bell’s recent earnings report, as at the end of March 2015 their LTE network covered 91% of the Canadian population and their network engineers are planning to increase coverage to 98% by the end of the year.
LTE carrier aggregation is a technology used to combine spectrum at different points of the frequency range and by doing so, offers customers a higher performance network. By blending spectrum at the low, mid and high end of the spectrum, this means that an individual device has a larger data connection or pipeline to the outside world. The maximum quoted network speed is subject to optimum conditions, which means the device in question must have a stable, good quality network connection to one or more cell sites offering the technology. At this time, only a relatively small number of devices are compatible with the LTE Advanced networking technology and carrier aggregation, but for Bell, this includes the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, the HTC One M9 and the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge devices. As a point of interest, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 does not have the same network technology as the Note Edge and so does not support the 220 Mbps technology. However, Bell notes that Qualcomm’s recent System-on-Chips support the technology and it expects other manufacturers to include the technology going forwards. We’ve seen a Toronto-based Bell customer showing off the theoretical maximum download speeds on a Samsung Galaxy S6, which showed a result of over 220 Mbps, which you can see in the video below.