O2 UK announces 4G plans, launches 29 Aug

Mobile users in the UK haven’t exactly been spoilt for choice so far when it comes to 4G LTE services, with only one operator, EE, making them available. But, following the mobile spectrum auction earlier this year, a second network will finally launch its 4G services in the UK soon.

O2 UK formally announced its 4G offering today, revealing that the service will launch in three cities – London, Leeds and Bradford – on 29 August. Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield will get 4G by the end of the year.  

The company says that its 4G tariffs will start at £26 a month for a SIM-only deal, although it did not reveal what minutes, texts and data allocation that would include. This is considerably higher than EE’s entry-level 4G offering, which costs £21 per month. O2 no doubt hopes that consumers will see greater value in its inclusive extras, such as access to its 9,000 WiFi hotspots around the UK, and free music content for those who buy direct from the network.

As we previously reported, the company has no plans to introduce packages with unlimited data, which puts it on par with EE's price plans. Three, which will launch its 4G network later this year, has said that it will offer 4G speeds to its customers at no extra cost over existing 3G tariffs.

A word of caution though: you won’t be able to use an iPhone 5 on O2’s 4G network. When EE launched its 4G service, it did so by converting existing 3G spectrum in the 1800MHz band; the company launched a version of the iPhone 5 (model A1429 GSM) with 1800MHz 4G LTE support. But O2’s 4G spectrum is in the 800MHz range, which the iPhone 5 doesn’t support.

Ronan Dunne – UK chief executive of O2’s parent company, Telefónica – told BBC News that he “would be frankly gobsmacked if [Apple’s] roadmap didn’t address that issue”. It's likely that this will be remedied with the launch of the new iPhone, widely expected in September.

The new Nokia Lumia 1020 is expected to be one of the first devices made available on the O2 4G network. Telefónica has secured a worldwide exclusive on the 64GB version of Nokia’s new flagship 41-megapixel Windows Phone. 

via: BBC News

Editor's note: This article was updated after publishing to correct an inaccuracy regarding the iPhone 5 on EE.

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21 Comments

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Wtf - no iphone 5 support = big disaster for o2.... are you mental?? its the crap iphone 5's fault for NOT supporting all spectrums. same as there isnt an iphone 5 that works on 1 of chinas major mobile provider. it isnt there fault its apples for not putting in equipment that supports the network.

What a surprise though, apple leaving out support for stuff so you have to get the next version if you want it work or have some extra new features which existing phones have., but i guess they can do no wrong!!

The iPhone 5 does support some 4G bands. It's good for EE & 3 but you are out of luck if you are a O2 or Vodafone customer.

It was announced what bands the iPhone 5 supported before it launched, so if people bought a phone over a year before 4G was launched in the UK and expected it to 'just work' can only blame themselves as all this information was out there.

The new iPhone will of course support more bands and it's not like any iPhone 5 owners will have a problem selling their phone if they really must have 4G with those horrendous contracts.

If you are a 3 customer, you will simply roll into the 4G service as and when it becomes available at no extra cost (it will work just fine with the iPhone 5). That is how you look after your customers.

psionicinversion said,
Wtf - no iphone 5 support = big disaster for o2.... are you mental?? its the crap iphone 5's fault for NOT supporting all spectrums. same as there isnt an iphone 5 that works on 1 of chinas major mobile provider. it isnt there fault its apples for not putting in equipment that supports the network.

What a surprise though, apple leaving out support for stuff so you have to get the next version if you want it work or have some extra new features which existing phones have., but i guess they can do no wrong!!

You're right that it's not O2's fault... but wotsit's point still stands. The iPhone 5 is obviously a very popular product, and if they're not selling it on 4G, people will go elsewhere, i.e. a disaster for 02!

I wish O2 would put more money into their existing (crap) network - want to make a phone call in central London between 4:30 and 6pm? Good luck.

Apple didn't make a version of the iPhone 5 for EE. The same version is available in many countries, it's just that the iPhone only supports a very narrow selection of frequencies unlike the Samsung and Nokia handsets, which should support all the 4G networks in the UK.

mog0 said,
Apple didn't make a version of the iPhone 5 for EE.

Quite right. I've revised that in the article; many thanks for correcting me on that.

O2 need to get 3G sorted first.... the coverage is very poor so cannot see how 4G is ever going to take off with O2 especially as they appear to have the wrong spectrum for large data capacity so as soon as there is one big event get really for 4G to crawl.

Their 4G coverage should be much better, 800Mhz goes a LOT further. Plus they're working with BT to add extra capacity I believe, using BT's higher frequencies so it should be the best of both worlds.

So from the sound of it, O2's planning to rip people off as well. Seems Three are the only network doing things right at the moment. Their new 321 PAYG tariff is absolutely killer (I'm planning on switching to them once I've used up all my giffgaff credit), and now they're not gonna charge extra for 4G when they get it? Kudos.

Obviously the 321 PAYG tariff is an absolute killer if you're not using that much internet. Imagine you use at least 1GB (which I often go way over per month), you'd end up spending £10 on 3G alone. At the moment with giffgaff you can get unlimited internet, unlimited texts and 250 minutes for £12.

drazgoosh said,
Obviously the 321 PAYG tariff is an absolute killer if you're not using that much internet. Imagine you use at least 1GB (which I often go way over per month), you'd end up spending £10 on 3G alone. At the moment with giffgaff you can get unlimited internet, unlimited texts and 250 minutes for £12.

Indeed, it's not that great for frequent internet use, but it's fantastic for me; I stick to free wi-fi hotspots when I'm out and about (thank you, BT Wi-Fi).

mulligan2k said,
3 have got a sim only deal for £12.80 - unlimited data and texts, 200 mins. but its a rolling monthly contract

Exactly like giffgaff's goodybags then; they're rolling contracts too which you can cancel at any time.