The UK’s first 4G network has gone live giving EE subscribers the opportunity to take advantage of the new ultra-fast mobile network.
From today the service will be available in 11 cities including London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, with 2,000 square miles of 4G coverage promised to be added every month.
By Christmas 16 cities will have 4G and London will be the first European city to be fully covered by the service, which promises to be five times faster than the 3G networks currently in use.
4G is the fourth generation of cellular wireless technology and, rather unsurprisingly, surpasses the standards set by 2G and 3G. The service is expected to deliver download data speeds of between 100Mbps and 1Gbps,
The launch of 4G gives EE a six month head start on Vodafone and O2 who must wait for the auction of other 4G spectrum bands to commence next year before launching their own rival services, while EE – previously the umbrella company for T-Mobile and Orange in the UK- chose to repurpose some of its existing 2G spectrum to launch the service first.
Despite the fanfare that has heralded the advent of the new network, the launch has been met with some criticism over EE ‘s pricing structure. Users will be tied into 4G contracts from EE for two years, and with no unlimited data option subscribers must select one of five data levels, although £36 will only get 500MB of data, a volume which is currently adequate on slower 3G speeds.
But, all of EE’s standard plans benefit from unlimited calls and texts, as well as access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots to help take the load off downloading data-heavy files.