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EE and Sprint's Spark duke it out for the most forward-looking 4G offering of 2014.

Leading Lights Finalists 2014: Most Innovative 4G Service

Dan Jones
5/21/2014
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New 4G services keep on coming, but here are the services that made this year's Leading Lights awards shortlist for the most innovative offerings of the past year. (See Leading Lights 2014: The Finalists.)

EE Ltd. -- 4G Service
UK joint venture EE wants to style itself as the NTT DoCoMo of Europe. In other words, a carrier that stays ahead of the pack in terms of deploying advanced wireless technology.

To this end, EE was one of the world's first carriers to implement features from the LTE-Advanced (LTE Release 10) specification. The operator tested the channel-bonding facilities in 2013 and has been deploying the capability as it expands its 4G footprint in the UK.

The LTE advances were rewarded in the first quarter with the operator reporting its best-ever 4G take-up, with 889,000 new connections during the first three months of 2014, taking its 4G customer base to 2.9 million.

Sprint Corp. -- Spark
The Spark LTE upgrade from Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) may be the most technologically ambitious update yet from a carrier that has been constantly updating its network during the past few years.

Spark delivers LTE over three radio frequencies to offer a combination of speed, coverage and reliability. Sprint's most widely deployed workhorse LTE bandwidth is 1900MHz; 800MHz offers more range and in-building coverage; 2.6GHz drastically ups the speed in dense urban areas.

Early users have seen Spark speeds of up to 60-70 Mbit/s downstream on unloaded networks. Even on a busy NYC network, Light Reading witnessed download speeds of more than 27 Mbit/s over the Spark update.

The winners in each of the 16 Leading Lights awards categories, and the identities of the latest Hall of Fame inductees, will be revealed at the Leading Lights awards dinner, which will be held during the evening of Tuesday, June 17, at The Adler Planetarium in Chicago. (See the awards dinner site for more details.)

Not by chance, the dinner also marks the end of the first day of Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), June 17/18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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