BT’s mobile unit reaches 2.8 Gbps using 100 MHz of 3.5-GHz spectrum

EE on Wednesday laid claim to the U.K.’s first end-to-end 5G network test, reaching a downlink speed of 2.8 Gbps.

The test saw the BT-owned mobile operator and its hardware partner Huawei combine EE’s virtualised 5G core with Huawei’s proof-of-concept 5G baseband unit (BBU), and a 64×64 massive multiple-input, multiple output (MIMO) antenna. In terms of spectrum, the companies used 100 MHz of 3.5-GHz frequencies.

EE emphasised that the 2.8 Gbps speed, together with latency of less than 5 milliseconds, was delivered end-to-end, not just over the air interface.

The test took place at EE’s U.K. mobile lab.

"The network architecture we’ve proven today is a huge step forward, and will drive our ambitious rollout timetable to be first for 5G," said Tom Bennett, EE’s director of network services and devices, in a statement.

The company, which was the U.K.’s first 4G operator, is keen to position itself as a leader in 5G as well.

Earlier this year, EE also showed off a pre-5G backhaul technology designed to connect its so-called Helikite solution – a 4G base station suspended from a helium balloon that provides mobile coverage when the macro network is down, or in areas that lack signal.