UK's first 4G network '5x faster' than 3GEE network to launch in 16 cities by Christmas
11 September 2012
Orange and T-Mobile owner Everything Everywhere is launching a new 4G network under its new EE brand.
The network is the first 4G network to be launched in the UK and EE claims customers will be able to access the internet on their phones and tablets up to 5 times faster than on current 3G networks.
4G is a next generation mobile technology that promises home broadband levels of internet speed on the move. EE's 4G network won't interfere with Freeview TV signals, as some 4G networks will, because it works on a frequency that doesn't affect Freeview.
For more information about 4G read our guide to what is 4G?
Where will it be available?
The network has been turned on in London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol, but EE claims that it will be live in 16 cites across the UK by Christmas including Edinburgh, Manchester and Leeds - covering around 20 million people.
The roll out will continue over the next couple of years aiming to cover 70% of the population (including some rural areas) by 2013 and 98% of the population by 2014.
As part of Ofcom's 4G license the network is required to provide indoor coverage to 98% of the population by 2017.
Fibre optic broadband
The EE network will also offer fibre optic broadband services to people in connected areas and the company claims that 11 million households and businesses will be able to access the network by the end of the year.
You can find out more about fibre optic broadband in our broadband features explained guide.
What phones will be available?
To access the network EE will be launching 4G enabled mobile phones from Samsung, HTC, Huawei and Nokia - as well as strongly hinting that the next iPhone (to be unveiled tomorrow) will be available on the network. There will also be a 4G dongle and personal wi-fi hotspot available from Huawei.
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What will it mean for Orange and T-Mobile customers?
Orange and T-Mobile customers will continue to exist and use the same network as EE, but they won't be able to access the 4G part of the network.EE says that it will make it easy for customers to upgrade and switch their contract to the new network, but we would expect this to come at some cost.
From today Orange and T-Mobile customers will also start to see the network name on their phones begin to change to EE, although this shouldn't make any difference to their coverage and doesn't change their price plans.
When will other networks launch 4G services?
The other networks will have to wait until the start of next year when Ofcom holds an auction of the spectrum to be used for the other 4G networks.