Everything Everywhere promises 4G in UK by Christmas

12/09/2012

Mobile operator Everything Everywhere has unveiled the UK's first fourth generation (4G) phone service. The move will see Everything Everywhere launch a new network brand that will represent its 4G LTE coverage, called ‘EE’. The EE network will carry 4G coverage over the network’s 1800MHz spectrum, which Ofcom has given the green light for the operator to use.

Watch the announcement video here:

ee%20logo.jpg

The EE network has been switched on this week, and it will stand alongside the Orange and T-Mobile brands, which will continue to offer a 3G service as they have before today.

At a launch show in London, the operator announced a stellar line-up of LTE handsets.

Within the year, these will be Samsung's Galaxy S III LTE; HTC's One XL and Huawei's Ascend P1 LTE.

The company will also offer Nokia's Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 - the latter of which the company has as an exclusive deal.
In addition, other devices will be launched to allow customers to connect existing equipment - such as a laptop - to the 4G network.

EE will be the first to offer UK consumers and businesses 4G, much to the chagrin of rival operators, who probably won’t have their 4G LTE services up and running until a year from now.

EE’s 4G service, on the other hand, will be available in the “coming weeks.” Four cities – London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham – are being switched on today, with engineers beginning live testing ahead of the service being launched to customers.

The launch schedule for the rest of this year will see 16 cities across the UK connected to 4G before Christmas arrives – namely London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.

EE reckons that this will represent a third of the UK’s population hooked up to 4G by the time 2013 rolls around. Expansion throughout 2013 should bring 70 per cent coverage to the UK, EE says, and by the time 2014 comes to a close, 98 per cent will have access to 4G.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, commented: “Today we launch a new company, a new network and a new brand for Britain. Our plans to revolutionise the UK communications market with a faster network and an exciting new brand for the digital age are built on solid investment and a simple belief that customers deserve better. We look forward to connecting the country with superfast mobile speeds in the coming weeks, months and years.”

EE also detailed the phones it will be selling that will be compatible with its 4G service, including the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820, Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, The HTC One XL, and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.

Matthew Howett, practice leader of Ovum’s regulatory telecoms team, commented on the announcement: "Behind countries such as Angola, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, Britain has rightly been lamented for being in the slow lane when it comes to 4G mobile services. However that is all set to change as Everything Everywhere’s new brand for 4G mobile services.

"All eyes will be on the company once the rollout gets under way. For it to be an attractive proposition for consumers it requires a good degree of network coverage, an attractive range of handsets and easy-to-understand pricing. From what we learnt today, EE certainly seems to have done everything right on the first two, but pricing will not be known until the firm launches in a few weeks’ time.

"Britain’s other mobile networks will most likely have to wait until next year and an auction of additional mobile spectrum before they launch 4G services. While they technically could also launch 4G early using their existing spectrum, the perceived lack of an ecosystem and devices has so far not made that an attractive option. However, two of the five devices EE is launching with are capable of running LTE in the spectrum bands the other operators already have, so attention will likely turn to why they aren’t also planning to launch 4G before that auction."

Read the official blog post here

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