Vodafone 4G delayed in the UK

Vodafone has confirmed that its 4G service has been delayed until the end of summer.

Speaking to The Guardian, Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao revealed that the company’s next generation 4G network service would be slipping from June to September.

This means that by the time Vodafone launches its 4G service, competitor EE will have been on the market with its initial 4G offering for 10 months.

Such a delay is a particular blow to the company as it spent the most money in February’s 4G auction out of all the UK network operators – a staggering £790 million, to be precise.

Looking closer at the situation, it’s easy to see why Vodafone would be inclined to wait a few more months. If it had launched in June, as projected, it would have had to do so without the biggest smartphone in the business.

Apple’s iPhone 5 is 4G-capable, but only on the frequency owned by EE. Delaying the launch would open the possibility of launching with a fresh-faced (and hopefully fully UK 4G compatible) iPhone 5S.

Vodafone is confident that its service will be worth waiting for. “We are convinced our own 4G will be better performing,” says Colao. “We want to launch it when it’s really ready. End of summer means when there is going to be a good commercial window for launching it.”

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Of course, by this point EE will have considerably strengthened and expanded its own 4G offering. It already covers more than half of the UK population, and expects to be offering 4G in 80 towns and cities throughout the UK by the end of June.

Read how two of EE’s flagship 4G phones compare in our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 feature.