Superfast 4G launched in 11 UK cities

30/10/2012

A new era of superfast mobile internet begins in the UK today, as 4G products and services are made available to millions of consumers in 11 cities across the UK. EE, formerly known as Everything Everywhere, will launch its range of 4G products and services in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Southampton.

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A further five cities will be added before Christmas with more in the New Year –- Belfast, Derby, Hull, Newcastle and Nottingham - with 4G coverage expected to cover 98 per cent of the population by 2014.

Benefits of the “superfast” data network include (in covered areas) instant access to the web, ability to download large email attachments quicker than on 3G, access to live TV on the move without buffering, ability to download HD movies in minutes, online gaming and HD video calling.

The 4G network will be available on the Apple iPhone 5 as well as devices from HTC, Samsung, Nokia and Huawei.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said “Today is a landmark day for our company, the UK mobile industry and, most importantly, the country’s businesses and consumers. But this is just the start as our 4G network will continue to grow stronger and wider by the day. We’re investing £1.5 billion in our network to be the first company to offer mobile 4G in the UK, alongside the biggest 3G network.”

EE has also rebranded its entire 700 plus retail estate, consisting of T-Mobile, Orange and Everything Everything Everywhere stores as EE.

In addition to the new 4G EE brand, all stores will continue to offer T-Mobile and Orange brands which will offer 2G and 3G services only.

Rivals and pricing issues

The launch comes amid criticism of EE's 4G pricing plans, which will hit customers on certain tariffs with additional charges if they exceed download allowances.

Rival operators including Vodafone, O2 owner Telefonica and Three will be able to launch their own 4G services and products from next spring. The companies had threatened legal action against communications regulator Ofcom over its 4G auction process, which has allowed EE to be the sole UK provider of the superfast services until next year.

Vodafone launched a "4G phone promise" last week, offering customers the chance to bring an eligible phone into any store and have 70% knocked off their remaining contract, in exchange for taking on a 4G device.

The services will allow uninterrupted access to the web on the go, high definition movies to be downloaded in minutes and TV to be streamed without buffering.

The cheapest EE tariff offers just 500mb worth of downloads each month - the equivalent to two one-hour programmes on the BBC iPlayer. Customers who want to download more than their 500mb allowance will have to pay extra, with a user looking to download eight one-hour programmes a month facing additional charges of up to £180 a year.

The EE deals range from £36 a month for 500mb of data downloads to £56 a month for 8GB of data. There are no plans for unlimited data downloads.

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