4G that's four times faster: Base prepares to jump to LTE-Advanced with field trial

The Belgian telco has seen speeds of 200Mbps in a recent pilot.

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After only switching on its LTE network a few months ago, Belgian mobile operator Base is already testing what comes next.

The company revealed it has been carrying out a trial of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) in the city of Hasselt, in the east of the country.

"We are now testing LTE-Advanced together with our partners so that we can actually provide speeds up to 200Mbps," Suzanne Kelder, Base's CTO, said. "We're testing that now in the field."

That figure is over double the theoretical maximum download speed of Base's current 4G network, 86Mbps, and four times what Base calls its "maximum realistic speed" of between 50Mbps and 60Mbps.

Base's LTE-A pilot a theoretical top speed of 300Mbps, using carrier aggregation — bringing together 20Mhz of spectrum in both the 1800Mhz and 2600Mhz bands to offer greater transmission bandwidth.

Base hasn't said when it plans to rollout LTE-A commercially to its four million customers, but it's likely to be at the tail end of this year at the earliest, when hardware bearing LTE-A compatible chips hits the market.

The operator joins a handful of other European mobile companies announcing LTE-A trials this year: both France's Bouygues and Italy's Vodafone Italia both conducted pilots recently. A number of other carriers also started their own trials last year: Vodafone and O2 in Germany , EE in the UK and SFR in France .

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