back to article EE unveils shoebox-sized router to boost Brit bumpkin broadband

EE is launching a "shoebox"-sized 4G antenna, which it claims could bring coverage to 580,000 UK homes in rural areas. The 4GEE Home Router contains an external antenna, which can be fixed to the outside of houses and is connected to the 4GEE Home Router in the home via a cable. It is intended for areas receiving poor …

  1. shifty_powers

    Optimistic thinking

    So what would be the Venn diagram for 'poor mobile internet' and 'crappy fixed line internet'?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Optimistic thinking

      A pretty big overlap I should think.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Optimistic thinking

      So what would be the Venn diagram for 'poor mobile internet' and 'crappy fixed line internet'?

      Would probably be a good solution for my brother's place in the Catskills, where the wired connection sucks, but he's got a clear line of sight to a cell tower on the opposite hill. But that would require Verizon Worthless to be anything less than, well, worthless.

      1. s2bu

        Re: Optimistic thinking

        Eh. I have a ranch out in the boonies. The local ILEC (CenturyLink) can offer me DSL with 384k upstream which isn’t enough for a HD CCTV feed. A CradlePoint router, 2 yagi antennas (for MIMO), a couple of amps, and an “unlimited” Vzw SIM later, we’re doing 12-20Mbps to a tower 8+ miles away. I can’t complain AT ALL.

    3. RogerT

      Re: Optimistic thinking

      I saw an Ofcom slide at a presentation last week which could be described as a Venn diagram on a map for a Welsh village. There wasn't many properties in just one area.

      I also learnt that whilst my land line cannot have fibre broadband it is included in the statistics for an area that can.

      1. Kev99 Bronze badge

        Re: Optimistic thinking

        Here in the Colonies I have the same problem. The "official" FCC broadband maps has our plot in the high speed broadband area but all we get is 768Kbps DSL from the second worse phone company in the US - Frontier.

    4. Oh Homer
      Childcatcher

      The last 4%

      That's probably me. In fact I'm probably in the last 0.000001%, given that my nearest neighbour is miles away.

      I also have zero bars on my mobile. It's a total dead zone, for miles around. So any solution that requires a cellular network is about as useless as waiting for BT to run miles of cable to my "exchange only" property in the middle of nowhere.

      I guess I just have to accept the fact that I'm never going to have high speed broadband, unless I win the lottery so I can move back to civilisation. Then again, if I won the lottery, I could just pay BT however many thousands of pounds it is they want to lay cable to my house.

      1. x3mxs

        Re: The last 4%

        And yet, you don't have to be miles away from civilization... I'm still well within the boundaries of my city and I get, on a good day and with wind in the right direction, 7 Mbps at best!!

        The problem seems quite far more spread that they want to make sound!

      2. Make it so

        Re: The last 4%

        I'm curious. Given that you chose to live in a lovely area away from it all (a decision I think is excellent) why are you surprised that services are going to be difficult or expensive to provide?

        There are satellite broadband services that at a pinch you could pay for. I understand that's the price to pay for privacy and rural beauty.

        I'm not arguing it's right or wrong that the services aren't there, more that it's a decision the homeowner has made for a particular life style.

        Comments / views?

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: The last 4%

          The commenter doesn't say he or she is surprised, they're not even complaining - just saying how it is.

        2. Oh Homer

          Re: "Given that you chose"

          False assumption. I didn't choose to live in the middle of nowhere, I was forced here by circumstances, and now I'm stuck here by poverty.

          I never cease to be amazed by this prevailing culture of blaming the victim, where people make the irrational assumption that the victim would choose poverty and depravation, like it's some kind of lifestyle preference. I can't decide if it's stupidity or malice, or possibly a bit of both.

      3. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: The last 4%

        Puzzled why that comment above was downvoted. Perhaps people disapprove of a decision to go live somewhere remote, because they don't? Are they overlooking g some simple, affordable solution? I'd love to know what it is, if so

  2. ARGO

    200GB for £60/month

    Sounds a bit steep compared to unlimited over a cable, but I've got rural relatives who would love to see a speed above 100kbps

    EE reckon their average broadband user only takes 150GB/month. I suspect that's a mean average and the % exceeding 150GB will be rather high. And also that the average use is increasing rather rapidly month on month....

    1. }{amis}{ Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 200GB for £60/month

      Pricey yes but but compared to the alternatives it's practically free, BT will lay a line to to anywhere in the country but that is mega bucks and compared to data costs on satellite this is super cheap.

      The customer experience will probably come down to how easily they can control their usage. I would hope that it has a hard limit by default and you have to enable running over you allowance.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: 200GB for £60/month

        And depends how much extra they charge if you go over - £1 for an extra 5GB or so, fine, 10p/Mb - not fine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 200GB for £60/month

          "And depends how much extra they charge if you go over - £1 for an extra 5GB or so, fine, 10p/Mb - not fine."

          Normally EE are fixed capped. You have to agree to pay more, so you shouldn't get a £900 bill because you kids were stream UHD films for 4 hours a day.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: 200GB for £60/month

        The customer experience will probably come down to how easily they can control their usage. I would hope that it has a hard limit by default and you have to enable running over you allowance.

        The streaming services just need to have a setting to limit their resolution appropriately rather than saying "look, a big pipe, let me send mega-high resolution to your 17" laptop screen or 8" tablet..."

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: 200GB for £60/month

      I agree, a tad steep, but not massively. 150GB a month average for users? Sounds plausible, but might be more if cheaper.

      I recently had to use 4G while fixed line was being upgraded. £6 for an extra 1GB with BT, and that vanished fast.

      Now paying £60/month for fixed line and unlimited 300Mbps fibre, but I'm lucky!

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: 200GB for £60/month

      Yes, slightly more expensive than EE's up to 76Mbps unlimited FTTC offering at £45 pcm. However, considerably cheaper than it was at launch last September when it was 200GB for £100 pcm.

      (http://newsroom.ee.co.uk/ee-launches-new-4gee-home-router-on-the-uks-fastest-4g-network/ ).

      In the context of tethered mobile broadband however, EE's 200GB for £60 pcm (including the 4GEE Home Router) is the best deal currently out there.

      Okay not suitable for Internet TV and online gaming, but compared to wet string...

      The part that was announced today was the EE approved external antenna (http://newsroom.ee.co.uk/ee-launches-4g-home-broadband-antenna-to-connect-more-than-580000-homes-across-the-uk/ ). The £100 price tag for installation etc. seems cheap given the price of external 3G/4G antenna and DIY installation.

    4. joed

      Re: 200GB for £60/month

      don't forget the "introductory package" part. It only goes up from there.

    5. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: 200GB for £60/month

      Cable requires interacting with Virgin Media. I'd rather go back to relying on newspapers, Radio 4 and the post.

  3. ukgnome Silver badge

    Post Code Lottery

    I am sure this is fine if you live in cumbria and the local mast is up to it.

    But if you live in one of the many picturesque norfolk broads villages then you can forget it - I get better coverage on Vodafone in an NR13 area than any other provider - VODAFONE FFS

  4. msknight Silver badge

    The homeowner should be charging them...

    ...to have something as ugly as that on their house.

  5. Lee D Silver badge

    As someone who just gave up on trying to get a landline with a decent speed broadband without paying the earth*... why not just do it yourself?

    If you have 4G on your phone outside your house, you can just buy a tiny Wifi 4G router, and stick an antenna on it (alright, it might be wise to ask someone what antenna as you can exceed transmit limits if you're not careful, but places like Solwise sell off-the-shelf kit to do this).

    Then buy any SIM from any provider and off you go.

    I bought an Huawei thing. Pocket-sized. Takes any SIM. Provides Wifi to the whole house (2.4 or 5GHz). App controlled so you can block heavy users. Even has a microSD so you can offer centralised storage. Operates as a home router (so my Chromecast is on it and I can do full speed client-to-client traffic, etc.). Battery powered (but can be always-charging quite nicely). 6 hours on battery. Plugs into an antenna that cost me £20 which I stuck in a window (didn't need to, but noticeably makes things more reliable and faster).

    I get 30Mbps at worst down now. People don't even realise it's 4G... ten people round the house playing online games / browsing and you wouldn't know. Plus things like TVPlayer, Netflix et al can be included in your data allowance with some people (Vodafone lets you pay £15 a month extra on top of a basic allowance for EVERYTHING - Amazon, Netflix, Google Play, Facebook, Youtube, etc. are all then excluded from data-allowances, Three do the same but for Netflix/TV Player, I'm sure most places have something similar).

    And I can stick it in my pocket and take it on holiday to Europe with me, in the car, a friend's house, etc. without having to do anything special (roaming data included in my SIM deal). Month-to-month contract (could be cheaper if I signed up to 2 years, etc.). I can change the SIM at any time. I can even run up one SIM's data, switch SIMs and carry on with all my usual devices without touching anything but the Huawei box itself.

    Basically this box is the "mobile hotspot" option of your smartphone, miniaturised. (In fact, my particular one is Android based, but you can't tell that because it has only a tiny little information display, no touch-screen, no buttons, etc. but it's basically "slap a cheap old smartphone into a box, put some custom software on it, sell it as a router".)

    *BT's checker says I could get 3-4Mbps on ADSL and 5-10 on VDSL... bugger off, especially given the line's rental etc. Yep, I'm inside the M25 near a large town that's otherwise well serviced for Tube, rail, road, power, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your mileage may vary: https://support.vodafone.co.uk/Vodafone-products-and-services/Vodafone-Passes/Further-information/1060513772/Can-I-use-Vodafone-Passes-while-tethering.htm

      Also note that video content is downsampled to SD if you've got a Video Pass active.

      1. psychonaut

        yup, those little 4g routers are pretty good. plus you can stick a massive 4 g antennae on it, way bigger than that little box EE are offering.

        Solwise is the place to go.

    2. Soruk

      If you're inside the M25, have you checked to see if you're inside the coverage of relish.net? Unlimited 4G broadband.

  6. James 51 Silver badge

    Shouldn't EE be paying people to host the infrastructure required to provide the services they are offering?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err by that logic, can I charge BT for my phone line?

    2. Grivas Bo Diddly Harm
      Coat

      Paying EE to host their infrastructure

      Don't be silly - by that token you'd advocate paying a supermarket for the privilege of walking around with their name on a shopping bag.

      Oh...

      1. JulieM Silver badge

        Re: Paying EE to host their infrastructure

        This is partly why I prefer to use a Bag For Life from a different supermarket than I'm shopping in. It reminds them they aren't the only game in town.

    3. Colin Bain

      Renting space

      If the box was being put on a pole in a city centre, I'll bet they would be paying rental space for the box. It's a bit of a cheek charging the customer to put their equipment on your property and then charging you to use it as well.

  7. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Stats, and damned stats,...

    "EE has said its 4G network can reach 90 per cent of the UK"

    90% of the UK surface? Or 90% of the UK population,... when oooh ~90% of the Uk population live in well connected cities?

    The OpenSignal map of coverage doesn't lead me to think 90% of the UK landmass has coverage,...

  8. Philip Stott

    They did a bang up job installing it

    They left 50% of the fixing bolts out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They did a bang up job installing it

      If you need 4 m10/12/14 (looks about those sizes) bolts in stone to hold something that light up, you're drilling the holes to big.

      Granted if it was a modern house you may need 4. 2 to hold the device, 2 to stop the house falling down.

      1. Philip Stott

        Re: They did a bang up job installing it

        I’m a developer, stuff like that confuses me. If they’re providing 4 holes then use 4 bolts and reduce the bore accordingly (and ensure it’s mounted exactly plumb).

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: They did a bang up job installing it

        "hold something that light up"

        I suspect mass is insignificant in comparison to wind loading.

      3. adew

        Re: They did a bang up job installing it

        Take a closer look at the image dude. There only 2 fixings and 2 unused holes.

        Whilst 4 large fixings may seem over the top anything that may work loose and drop on your head from a height in a high wind or suffer a performance hit if it oscillates needs a good worse case scenario OTT fixing. That way the installer is pretty much guaranteed no return visits or lawyered up irate clients.

  9. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    EE claims it delivered 100Mbps

    Just like the EE network I use on my mobile phone? Funny, it never seems that fast.

    In other news, EE kindly supplied me with a picocell-type device that connects to my broadband, so I can use my phone at home without having to go and stand in the garden. If I had their new gadget too, the ugly box outside the house would use the mobile signal from the picocell, which will route it down the broadband connection, and so on ad infinitum.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Interesting point re the pico cell, I wonder what EE's solution is other than to suggest purchasing an EE locked phone that supports WiFi calling...

      Also in the circumstances where the pico cell is needed, I wonder the extent to which the 4GEE antenna will get signal.

  10. IneptAdept

    To be honest no worse than the 1mb I get at the moment

    I live in East Sussex, where we have an almost 100% FTTC which is great.....

    Accept that due to Openreach / BT who ever all the lines are oversubscribed.....

    So out of the part of the village I live in there are about 100 homes all wanting fibre but are stuck with 1-2mb ADSL

    Now my question is....

    WTF have they not installed more capacity ???/

    100 * £20 * 12 = £24000

    Thats not a bad return on investment as it would be substantially less than that to install extra capacity

    But then I have to pay £18 a month to get 1-2mb so what do they care, 100 * £2 * 12 = £2,400

    So 24,000 - 21,600 = 2,400 so I guess the £2,400 is not worth the hassle :/

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: To be honest no worse than the 1mb I get at the moment

      Um... let's say you get 25Mbps each.

      That's a 100 * 25 * some factor (probably 1/10 for standard contention). That's a 250Mbps leased line. They don't really do those so realisitically you're looking at a 1Gbps leased line, instead of a 100Mbps leased line.

      That, on it's own, would cost more than £24000 to install if it involves digging up even one road. And then something like £1000 a month ongoing.

      Not all 100 people would sign up.

      The people installing it (Openreach as opposed to BT) would see much less than £20 of it.

      Likely you'll give them £5-6000 a year. They wouldn't be able to afford to keep a leased line up.

      On top of that, they'd have to provide you all with service from that cabinet, which means VDSL etc. modems in it, which means an upgrade costing probably about £10k or more again. Then they'd have to handle the other end of the leased line to give you several hundred megs of extra capacity.

      And that's assuming they don't have to:

      - Dig over a lot of other people's land, run a new cable ANYWHERE back to an exchange with gigabit+ connectivity, rent other people's ducting or install any new capacity.

      - Rent out that pipe to another company on a fair an reasonable basis on demand from any of their customers.

      - Pay anything at all for ongoing ground rent for the cabinets, ongoing maintenance, equipment, cables, ducts or access routes.

      I despite BT/Openreach and have done my utmost to make them lose every piece of custom I can (including leased lines and dozens of telephone lines in a multitude of schools). But I can't say that it's at all cost-effective to give people the Internet service they desire as a private corporation. There's a reason they used to be nationalised and the costs amortized over decades and over the entire nation. Because that's what is required to do it.

      And you're not even CLOSE to being "out in the sticks" where there may be no line at all, no cabinet at all, no existing ductwork at all (for kilometeres!), and no well-served exchange nearby (again, for kilometers).

      The numbers don't add up. What we should have is a broadband tax that pays for kitting up locations once and for all. Literally FTTC / FTTH, with capacity (if not equipment) enough to go to 100's of Gbit in the future, that everyone pays for, which funds the rural installs that are otherwise completely non-viable.

      Because at the moment, you'd be lucky to convince BT to throw you a leased line to your house for £24k and a couple of grand a month in most places that have inadequate broadband.

      Case in point: A school just a few miles from Watford... £12k install costs + £10k own costs (we dug our own trenches across farmer's land and sunk fibre ducts of our own in co-operation to reduce their install costs) and £1k a month ongoing. For a 100Mbps leased line which wouldn't serve a street of people on VDSL let alone a town. Total distance - about 500 yards to connect to a cabinet that already existed on a major road with major links back to a central exchange.

      The numbers rarely add up. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be making them happen anyway, once, well and for a long time, much like we did copper telephone lines at one time. The cost reductions of then everyone have VoIP capability, online government services, reduced reliance on broadcast TV/radio, etc. etc. would pay for itself eventually. But nobody is going to stump up billions to wire in people who have 1Mbps already, and go bankrupt in the process. That's how NTL's cables all ended up forming Virgin Media's cable network - the costs were already sunk into a bankrupt business.

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: To be honest no worse than the 1mb I get at the moment

      100 * £20 * 12 = £24000

      Thats not a bad return on investment

      How much do you think it costs to trench in a couple of hundred metres of cable and a new cabinet?

      How much do you think a cabinet costs?

      Hint: it's a bit more than £24,000.

  11. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    WTF?

    So none of you have...

    Thought about the differences are between an omni directional antenna on a mobile and high gain directional antenna plugged into a powersource are? Yes, the mobile will probably always have a slower speed/bandwidth but then it's got to - It needs to balance bandwidth with range and power concerns where as a focused device like this should be able to out-perform a mob any day of the week, wet or dry.

    At least they're trying to do something that doesn't cost a stupid amount of money - seriously... if there's a better option thats cheaper/faster/more available then I'm all ears.

    (having a kids in glass houses kind of day)

    P.S. the 90% is national coverage the Grauniad article on the matter

  12. biscuit

    Meanwhile in France

    In France Bouygues offer a 4G router with apparently-unlimited data for €33/month

    https://www.bouyguestelecom.fr/offres-internet/4g-box

    No installation required. You stick in the SIM and switch it on.

    I had it for a month's trial and managed to get 25mbps asynchronous in an area where the ADSL rarely gets above 6 mbps down and 1 up.

    1. James Wright

      Re: Meanwhile in France

      I visited the page and google translate say's:

      "A 200GB data envelope with reduced throughput, without the risk of overcharging".

      So it would seem unlimited data, but with throttling after 200gb. Still a great deal at 30 euros.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Meanwhile in France

        The deal is 200GB pcm, with usage over 200GB throttled to a maximum of 512kbps for the remainder of the month.

        https://www.bouyguestelecom.fr/static/cms/tarifs/Fiche_D_Information_Standardisee_Offre_4G_box.pdf

        https://alloforfait.fr/internet/news/44198-4g-box-bouygues-telecom-limite-200-go-mois.html

        But still a great deal.

        Interestingly, the box looks like a Huawei E5180 variant, as also used by EE, which also comes without 'installation'; the 'installation' is for the shoebox external antenna...

  13. Ol' Grumpy
    Unhappy

    I just can't see this kind of thing taking off while prices for mobile data are as expensive and restrictive as they are. When I'm at home, I don't want to be worried about going over quota and either receiving a massive bill or being cut off. I'd rather stick to my crummy <1Mbps but unlimited connection.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      >When I'm at home, I don't want to be worried about going over quota and either receiving a massive bill or being cut off. I'd rather stick to my crummy <1Mbps but unlimited connection.

      Your choice, however, if you are used to a crummy <1Mbps connection, then I doubt you are in the habit of doing much streaming or online gaming and hence your data usage is probably sub 30MB pcm, so plenty of headroom.

      For circa 6 years my home connection was a Three D100 router combined with a 3G dongle and external roof mounted directional antenna. I mostly solved the out of data problem by having two SIMs (2x 15GB) billing two weeks apart, this meant that if I ran out of data (I had Three enable a data cap), I could simply swap SIMs. This gave me a 3~5Mbps link, which was usable compared to the sub-512kbps ADSL. This service is now my backup to the circa 35Mbps unlimited FTTC service, I've been able to enjoy for a little over two years now (EE 3/4G service is non existent around me)...

  14. inmypjs Silver badge

    it delivered 100Mbps

    To how many at a time?

    Mobile data is hugely expensive to manage the demand on the limited aggregate bandwidth available.

    What is the point in ultrafast broadband which you can only afford to use a few minutes a week?

  15. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    When I get 4G in my house, in the middle of a north east housing estate, then EE can crow, until then, 90%, my ass !

  16. IGnatius T Foobar

    Good place for mesh

    Out in the countryside would be a good place for a mesh network, if enough subscribers could be found.

  17. Darren Forster

    I wonder if O2 will also offer a similar service. As I'm on GiffGaff and my phone can get far faster internet than my landline broadband. If only the usage rates were similar for tethering I'd tell PlusNet where to shove their poor quality line.

    Although I have to admit it's pretty poor that EE is owned by BT and they are charging people £100 and getting them to sign a contract for a problem that they've created. Seeing as BT can't be bothered putting in fibre properly into some areas they should be providing the boxes free as it's their fault.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      >I wonder if O2 will also offer a similar service.

      If they offer a data SIM then you can spin your own version of this by using your own router, dongle and external antenna. Obviously, it is helpful to be confident at DIY and working up a ladder.

  18. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Had one of these as a 'temporary' fix for a business leased line order that went wrong. It dropped out constantly and got throttled like mad if you actually tried to use it. This was for 45 or so office users in a barn in the middle of the countryside. They tried everything including rebooting the phone mast and it never worked properly even after that. They even sent one of their engineers out, a guy who actually built the mast we were connecting to. He did all kinds of diagnostics and knew his stuff, nice guy. He also told me that Ericsson who actually ran the mast sites wouldn't let them (EE) do anything to their own masts as Ericsson were ultimately responsible for any downtime in the contract. I know this is being touted for home use but if you want to use it for any more than casual browsing good luck as I can't imagine the problems I had would have just gone away.

  19. jockmcthingiemibobb

    I can't believe the UK has fallen so far behind. I have a choice if 3 4G providers offering outdoor LTE solutions as well as the local WISP's excellent microwave service.

  20. richard_w

    It makes you wonder why openreach are so keen to dig up pavements when you can get 100mB with 4g and 5g will improve dramatically on that

    1. jockmcthingiemibobb

      Add lots of customers and 4G doesn't deliver anything like 100Mbps despite their claims.

      1. richard_w

        But it delivers much more than the 18mb I get with fttc. I can get 30mb to my smartphone surely it must be cheaper to beef up 4g infrastructure than to lay fibre to the door

  21. spanout

    allowance

    As a bumpkin... I can say that the issue is not speed when using 4g but allowance. A 5gb allowance is bout 1,5 days in the modern world of online services

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: allowance

      I WFH and, apart from not watching much telly online, have a fairly typical usage pattern; I usually get thru 15-20Gb/month. I live alone though, if you've several kids addicted to Netflix or whatever that's probably not going to work very well.

  22. Jim Willsher

    I already have this setup. Teltonika RUT950 router with dual EE SIM cards and a decent antenna, for a coincidental £60/month. Except the gubbins bit is in the loft rather than forming a nesting perch outside.

    Admittedly I only get 100GB per month but I do at least get 70Mb down and up, rather than the 10Mb this shoebox seems to be crippled with.

    Bet there's still no static IP though, just the CGNAT crap.

    (Rural Perthshire, in case you wondered, and I reckon I have the local EE 4G mast all to myself)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      >rather than the 10Mb this shoebox seems to be crippled with.

      Not seen a breakdown of what exactly is in the shoebox, but I thought the 10Mbps uplink was more a limitation of the 4GEE Home router being a reboxed Huawei E5180 4G WiFi Cube.

      Static IP addresses are available, however, 4G Fixed IP SIM Cards are expensive (https://www.3grouterstore.co.uk/3G/4G-Fixed-IP-SIM-Cards.html )

    2. jockbroon

      Are you Jim Willsher of the Bulk Rename Utility fame? Awesome piece of software.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        "bulk rename utility"??

        God, I'd forgotten what hell Windows is. Just install Cygwin, you can probably replace this app with a Bash one-liner.

      2. Jim Willsher
  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What exactly are you going to plug this 4g router into? The 4GEE router you already have to boost the signal for everyone's 4g? How exactly is this going to improve the signal and why should you pay to do it and share your bandwidth? I could understand it if was some kind of repeater only system but again you shouldn't have to pay for that as you are supplying the power plus you are already paying for the 4G service on your device. It can't be plugged into your broadband because rural broadband wouldn't be good enough.

    If someone could explain this to me it would be grand.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Haven't RTFA but surely it's a 4G - WiFi bridge? Nothing to do with 4G signals boosters.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    100Mbps on 4G - my arse. Not as a continuous speed for the majority of people, They may have fluked it for a few seconds.

    Up to 100Mbps = intermittent 2-10Mbps.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      EE 4G speedtest

      Just used a speedchecker which reports 22.5 down / 2.5 up.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I get 80+ and that's on a crappy android

  25. jockbroon

    User has exceeded monthly bandwidth limit

    Why does this article make no mention of the most crucial point - bandwidth limitations? The biggest package on offer has a limit of just 200GB. You could blow through that easily after a few HD films or game downloads. As someone who has previously suffered through 1Mbps rural broadband, I'd rather have that with unlimited bandwidth and decent ping than 4G with low limits.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: User has exceeded monthly bandwidth limit

      If you want to watch films, buy a TV, dummy.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Getting the Best out of EE

    This my experience with HUAWEI CPE routers using external antennas

    This two routers work well with the external antenna ports

    HUAWEI B593u-12: LTE FDD Band 1/3/7/8/20 (800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz) (Speed up to 100Mbps)

    HUAWEI B593s-22: LTE FDD Band 1/3/7/8/20 (800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz) and TDD Band 38 (2600MHz),

    LTE Category 4 CPE (Speed up to 150Mbps)

    Best firmware for the HUAWEI B593u-12 ( Use google translate to convert Swedish to English)

    Firmware runs in English :: https://www.telia.se/privat/support/info/uppdatera-usb-modem-och-router-huawei-b593

    This router does not work well with the external antenna ports.

    Once activitated the user can switch back to internal ports.

    Huawei E5186s-22a: LTE Band 1/3/7/8/20/38 (FDD 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz, TDD 2600MHz)

    LTE Category 6 Wireless Router/Gateway

    * Technical Standards: LTE/DC-HSPA+/HSPA+/HSPA/UMTS/EDGE/GPRS/GSM

    I have purchased 3 of the above routers for use with external antenna the one that works the best

    is HUAWEI B593s-22 in my experience. Regulary gives 150MB data rate.

    Stay away from 02 network , EE is the best network for 4G in my experience

    Important things to remember

    - find your local LTE basestations.

    - note the difference between LTE & 3G HSPA for each local basestation

    - only use 3G HSPA if there is nothing else.

    - 3 Network are mainly : 3G HSPA radio standard

    - your nearest base station may not be the best one.

    - The best basestation to use is the one with the direct fiber connection which is also the hub cell tower

    - Normally in a cell coverage area 6 to 10 cell towers will link by microwave link to hub

    cell tower

    - high gain antenna ie > 20 db will give very good directivity

    - Buy 2 antenna which have N connectors on the back

    - With the above identified LTE routers you must have 2 Panel or Log periodical or Yagi Antennas

    - If you can place the 2 Antennas at least 2 meters apart you will get the best MIMO & radio performance

    - Buy expensive low loss RF cable which is >10 mm in diameter and then place an N to SMA convert on the back of the router

    - Keep the length of low loss RF cable between the antenna and the router to a minimum as this will help to keep

    router running at its maximum data speed

    - Use a service provider who operates at 1800MHz & 2600MHz

    - You need a good signal strength ie 5 bars to get a full high speed system

    - Summary of UK service providers radio allocation

    EE : (800 MHz) FDD 5 MHz ; (1800 MHz) FDD 45 MHz ; (2600 MHz) FDD 35 MHz

    Three : (800 MHz) FDD 5 MHz ; (1800 MHz) FDD 15 MHz ; (2600 MHz) FDD 35 MHz

    O2 : (800 MHz) FDD 10 MHz

    Vodafone : (800 MHz) 10 MHz ; (2600 MHz) FDD 2 x 20 MHz , TDD 1 x 25 MHz (unpaired)

    - 2600 MHz is mainly used in Dense living city areas Normally

    - To get really well working system expect to spend min 600 UK pounds.

    ebay.co.uk or dba.dk is a good place to look for cheap used LTE router.

    Notes on EE

    EE use four different frequency bands within the UK, which covers their entire network from 2G to 4G.

    EE use:

    800MHz(band 26) for 4G

    1800MHz(band 3) for 2G and 4G

    2100MHz(band 1) for 3G only

    2600MHz(band 7) for 4G

    EE have built their core 4G network on the 1800MHz spectrum.

    EE additional use 2600MHz to provide additional capacity in built up areas(mainly cities)

    and providing 4G+ in double speed areas.

    EE additional use 800MHz to help cover rural areas and will be used to launch VoLTE(Voice over LTE).

    Examples of good companies to buy antennas from

    http://www.wimo.de/panel-antennas_e.html

    http://www.euroantenna.eu/index.php?e=2&p=g9

    Remember you yourself are responsible for complying with UK Law

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Getting the Best out of EE

      Wow, this sounds ideal for my 75 year old parents stuck in the wilds of the Welsh border.

  27. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Data point

    When I moved house almost five years ago I had a lot of flatpack furniture to assemble, new job to get up to speed with, changing addresses registered with various orgs, and so on. Whilst waiting to get round to ordering up a proper internet connection I just used my 4G phone's WiFi hotspot. As time passed I kept remembering I had to get round to it, but somehow... I never have, and I'm still using the phone network. (Context: this is inside the M25.) Apart from making sure to always have a spare mobile to hand for the inevitable smashed screen incidents (and a Moto G4 that fell victim to the dreaded reboot-cycle-of-death), it's been largely trouble free. I work at home a lot, so reliable fast net connection is essential for me. So far, so good...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a WIN-WIN solution....

    Why not lease out unused STINGRAY bandwidth?

  29. MR J

    Need "Unlimited" - with limits.

    Really what they need here is a plan that is "unlimited" and offers a fixed connection, but you can buy packages to get "limited" data at higher speeds.

    Our home uses 1-1.5tb every month, and virtually all of that is streaming services. TMobile used to offer unlimited data at 6 months for £20... Once you passed a threshold it slowed down, but it was great for still checking emails and having basic connectivity when you need it.

    Far too many users need to buy packages that they rarely use, and far too many others need to pay HUGE penalties for using data that is not included in their plan.

  30. Jim Willsher

    A slow EE day for me (RUT950, dual EE sim cards), e.g. a home-built Shoebox.

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/7051155821

  31. old_nic

    Better late and expensive

    Living in the mountains in the south of Tuscany I am getting only 50 MBPS. And it is costing me Eur 30 per month, including all my phone calls and a UK landline number....

  32. ruralbb

    Interesting that other companies have been supplying this for a long time via the BDUK Better Broadband Scheme for FREE and EE get all the press. Why pay £100 when other companies can give you the same for free if you get less than 2meg speed. RuralBroadband.co.uk Boundless Networks and 4G Internet being just 2 of those teams. Plus, not just EE but other networks too!

  33. nickmorgan

    I've been using EE 4G for years in a rural area. I get around 40Mbps down and 20Mbps up. The ADSL I used to get from BT was around 1.2Mbps only if all the planets aligned and I'd sacrificed a goat. The downside to is: I've had to sign up for 2 x 60GB and 1 x 64GB sims to get a usable service (184GB/month). What would be great is comparable unlimited internet over 4G as you get with ADSL or Fibre - there's no box set binges in my house unfortunately. An extra aerial is key here also. LISTEN UP providers, there's an opportunity here, to overtake BT Openreach-around's pathetic rural broadband commitment.

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