back to article Soz, BT: All EE's 4G goodies still won't give you 'seamless voice'

BT can't seem to kick the mobile habit. Since selling O2 (nee BT Cellnet) to Telefonica back in 2002, the former state-owned telco has been in bed with all of the mobile operators. Now it has signed up with EE. What makes it interesting this time around is that BT now has spectrum. This makes the big difference between BT …


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  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Then again....

    There is speculation (BBC - Radio 5 Wakeup to Money today) that Vodafone will buy BT or possibly B-SkyB. They have £32B sitting in the bank so they could afford it. How would that go down with the deal with EE? <no_carrier>

    1. Colin Miller

      Re: Then again....

      Isn't Voda owned by C&W? Would make it interesting if C&W own BT.

      1. Soruk

        Re: Then again....

        > Isn't Voda owned by C&W? Would make it interesting if C&W own BT.

        Other way round, C&W Worldwide is owned by Voda.

  2. john loader

    Perhaps this is not what it seems

    With BT talking about a trial on Leyburn exchange of Fibre to the Node (FTTN) with pole mounted boxes (old BT hands think pillars) could this be an alternative way for BT to hit targets under BDUK in rural areas. EE has proved it works in Cumbria

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps this is not what it seems


      "EE has proved it works in Cumbria"

      What is "it" and definition of "works"?

  3. Steve Liput

    Get your facts right

    BT have plenty of 2.6GHz spectrum to cover the country, it would just be expensive as 2.6GHz has limited range

    "BT hasn't enough spectrum to cover the whole country" - complete rubbish.

    "to have full coverage it would really want 800MHz as well" - true, as 800MHz would give you better range

    "build out your LTE network to a level where [you have full coverage]... is not open to BT, which only has 50MHz of spectrum." - rubbish again

    The biggest reason why then need a partner is that (even if they had 800MHz) the business case woudl not support building out a new network costing £ billions

    Qualifications: advised Ofcom on many spectrum auctions

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get your facts right

      Is BT's 50MHz of spectrum enough to provide good coverage and bandwidth to large numbers of users inside and outside of tower blocks in central London, without having to have access points so often that it was be too expensive to deploy?

      Qualifications: 'O' level in woodwork, 1988. And 50m swimming badge.

  4. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Quite a funny response

    El Reg spoke to SKT... which said the best way to deal with the problems of handing over voice from LTE to 3G is to build out your LTE network to a level where you don't have to do it.

    Summary: It's too difficult, so don't even bother trying.

    On a more serious note, why the hell weren't details for this specified before rollout? It would seem a natural, necessary feature for a mobile network.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT could probably deliver quite a good 4G overlay service with their spectrum if they replaced their homehubs with a model that contained a 4G femtocell. At least the backhaul would be sorted..

  6. Peter27x

    Wait!! A conventional mobile (voice) network is (almost) a non-starter for BT

    Two important points. BT didn't buy a single 50Mhz block of spectrum, they bought

    - E-UTRA FDD Band 7 (2 x 15 MHz of 2.6 GHz)

    - E-UTRA TDD Band 38 (1 x 20 MHz of 2.6 GHz unpaired)

    The majority of networks which intend to support voice in the world will be FDD networks (Frequency Division Duplex) which require parried chunks of frequency, one for the downlink and one for the uplink. TDD (Time Division Duplex) networks can support voice, I think there are some networks in Asia use TDD. However I'm not aware of any LTE handset sold in the UK that can support TDD networks, nor band 38 (typically a LTE handset will support about five out of the ~30 FDD bands, e.g. 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, and these will tailored to fit with the networks in each the country the phone is sold to with country specific variants). I doubt many manufactures would bring a TDD handset to the UK for effectively a network with zero customers.

    So BT could only run voice services on the quite narrow Band 7. Theoretically a narrow band could be used to serve the country, but there is a trade-off. More customers using the same bandwidth would require a more dense network with smaller cells. Basically that's why none of the other main UK Mo Pho Co wanted that auction bundle and it went quite cheep.

    The intention of TDD bands are primarily for data only services such as that offered by Which backs up BT's statement of providing 4G broadband.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "data only services such as that offered by"

      Are these the same PCCW subsidiary that won some of the UK regional fixed wireless access auctions a decade or so ago, and then post-auction did various deals to buy up the licences in the regions where they hadn't won the auction? And then they soft-launched their service, at that point called Netvigator, or Now Broadband, or something like that, in that well know broadband notspot, the Thames Valley (Reading Maidenhead etc). And then they did absolutely nothing with the licences, and Ofcom let them sit on them? It seems like they are.

      If so, I wouldn't count them as particularly credible, even if the parent is. YMMV.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        UK Broadband has something in the pipeline - but I'm not at liberty to reveal.

  7. Adam Jarvis

    It's not just voice, Data between 3G / LTE and back again, is iffy at best.

    Using an iPad between Birmingham and Plymouth last week, the EE mobile broadband nearly always kicked out switching between 3G / LTE and vice versa, and for periods of several minutes, even where it was showing a full signal. In fairness, though there was pretty good coverage along most of the M5, but certainly could be improved. It doesn't just seem to be Voice.

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