Available in the US for some time now, the first UK 4G networks are set to go live in a matter of weeks, here’s everything you need to know about how to make the most of the UK 4G rollout, and what the new high-speed cellular networks will offer.
EE UK 4G Network Launch Date
Having previously confirmed that it would launch the first UK 4G network before the end of the year, EE, formerly Everything Everywhere and parent company of both Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, has now set a confirmed UK 4G launch date.
Hitting four UK cities first, London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham, the EE UK 4G launch date has been set for October 30th with the fledgling network to go live with a selection of handsets from Apple, Samsung, HTC and Huawei on offer.
“We are delighted to announce that the official launch of our new customer brand, EE, offering the UK’s first superfast mobile 4G and fibre broadband service, will take place on the 30th October 2012,” Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE said in a recent statement.
“This is a significant milestone for the United Kingdom, and for the people and businesses of our country who will now be able to enjoy the huge advantages of superfast 4G technology for the first time.” He added: “We are very proud to be pioneering, innovating and leading our industry in launching 4G for our nation through our new EE brand.”
UK 4G Coverage
Although this month’s UK 4G launch will see just four of the nation’s leading cities feature the high-speed network services, EE has confirmed that it will roll out the 4G spectrum across more of the UK imminently, with a total of 16 cities to support the 3G trumping network by Christmas of this year.
Taking the superfast 4G mobile network to all corners of the UK, EE has outlined plans to add Edinburgh and Belfast to the list of covered cities this year, with Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool also given the pre-Christmas 2012 4G nod.
Elsewhere, residents of Sheffield, Glasgow, Newcastle, Southampton, Hull, Nottingham and Derby will also be on the receiving end of 4G speeds before the year is out.
Whilst major cities understandably take precedence for what will be a long and gradual national 4G rollout process, EE has confirmed that it is looking to offer comprehensive coverage of the entire nation, with 98 per cent of the UK to have access to 4G speeds by the end of 2013 with just the Highlands and Islands of Scotland being forced to wait into 2014.
UK 4G Networks
Despite rival networks including O2 and Vodafone threatening legal action to prevent EE getting an unfair jump on its 4G UK rollout, the Orange and T-Mobile parenting network has been given the green light by regulating body Ofcom.
In a bid to appease rival networks, however, Ofcom has agreed to move the full 4G network spectrum auction forward from May 2013 to January 2013, ensuring O2, Vodafone and Three can offer their own 4G services for the UK within the year.
Although UK 4G network options from O2 and Vodafone are unlikely much before July 2013, relative bit-part player Virgin Media could make the move to 4G later this year if a rumoured piggybacking off the EE spectrum comes to fruition.
Speaking last month on the 4G claims, a Virgin Media spokesperson said: "People are increasingly using smartphones, tablets and other connected devices to get online and 4G will play an important part in meeting the growing demand for wireless capacity.”
They added: “Launching 4G services this year promises to bring significant benefits to UK consumers as people begin to make the most of forthcoming superfast mobile connections."
UK 4G Launch Handsets
With the recently released iPhone 5 already confirmed as one of the key launch handset’s for EE’s imminent UK 4G rollout, those who snap up Apple’s 4-inch iOS 6 packing handset on Orange or T-Mobile prior to EE’s launch will be able to move across to the 4G service post October 30th.
For those not taken with the iPhone 4S follow-on, the iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 battle looks set to be ignited on a new front with the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE confirmed as a launch title for the EE 4G service. Although previously available Samsung Galaxy S3 handsets will not be compatible with the 4G spectrum, those looking to get the jump on the superfast mobile speeds can now snap up the LTE compatible Samsung Galaxy S3 from Orange and T-Mobile retail outlets.
“We’re delighted to now be offering our customers a range of 4G ready smartphones to choose from,” said Pippa Dunn, Chief Marketing Officer at EE. “Not only can they use their phones straight away on the UK’s biggest 3G network, but they can also have the opportunity to be amongst the first to benefit from superfast 4G mobile speeds when we launch our EE brand on October 30th”.
For those not keen on the Apple or Samsung branded devices, the HTC One XL and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE are both available to buy now ahead of the 4G rollout whilst a 4G compatible Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will be made available from October 15th.
Are you keen to adopt the UK’s emerging 4G networks or are you happy with the speeds, and price plans currently offered by the country’s 3G services? Let us know via the Trusted Reviews Twitter and Facebook feeds or through the comments boxes below.