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.