Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy

UK’s first 4G network ‘5x faster’ than 3G

EE network to launch in 16 cities by Christmas

EE logo

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.


Please enable JavaScript to access this content.

Video transcript

We are here at the Science Museum for the launch of the new 4G mobile network. The network comes from the owner of Orange and T-Mobile and it’s going to be called EE and apparently it offers up to five times the speed of 3G. EE claim that 4G will allow you to download HD movies in minutes, stream videos on the internet without buffering, and just generally make accessing the internet on your mobile a lot faster.

this is the first time this is available in the UK its actually been around for a while in places such as America and even countries like Uzbekistan as far as 4g mobile coverage be offering fiber optic broadband, and by the end of the year, they say about 11 million customers will be able to access the service.

Today EE is turning on 4G in four different cities in the UK for testing, in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff. But by the end of Christmas EE claim that it will be available in 16 cities across the UK covering a total of 20 million people. EE also continued to speed up the roll out of the service, claiming that they will cover 70% of the population in 2013 and 98%of the population by 2014 to make use of this new 4g network you need a 4g phone and EE has announced it’s going to be releasing devices from Huawei HTC nokia samsumg and a very strong hint that the new iPhone will be available on the network. Orange and T-Mobile customers will be able to use the current network by EE, but they won’t be able to access the 4G portion of the network.

But thankfully EE said that it would be easy to upgrade from one of their brands to the new EE brand. To find out more about 4G and what it actually is click on the link below, but for more information about EE UK go to Which.co.uk

For more information about 4G read our guide to  

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.

Visit our tech blog to sign up for a reminder of our live coverage of the iPhone 5 launch.

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.

More on this…

  • – our guide to the latest mobile phone technology
  • Best Buy mobile phones – see which phones we recommend
  • Tablet reviews – every major brand and model tested
Back to top