Almost a month on from the news that Vodafone UK would be rolling out 4G connectivity in areas outside of London, the company has announced that it has signed up its 100,000th customer, and shared its plans to expand 4G connectivity even further across the UK.
Initially, Vodafone’s 4G service operated exclusively in London, somewhat limiting its appeal. Vodafone switched on LTE coverage across an additional five English cities: Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield all got the 4G signal on September 28th, which is good news, but still far behind the lead that EE has established in its coverage.
The next 4G upgrades will now take place in Liverpool on the 17th of October, in Glasgow on 24th October and then in Manchester “shortly afterwards“.
A Vodafone spokesperson said:
Since the very first phones in London switched to our 4G network, the coverage has been expanding outwards across the capital. More than 80 towns and districts in the London area are now connected to Vodafone 4G. From Harlow to Dorking, and from Dartford to Windsor, we’ve got 4G flowing out across more of Greater London every day.
The best bit? Because of the 800MHz spectrum we’re using, everywhere that Vodafone 4G goes, good indoor signal goes, too. Loads more cities will be launching soon.
The 4G 800MHz and 2.6GHz radio spectrum bands cost the operator £790 million earlier this year, and alongside O2 - with whom they have a network sharing agreement - they plan to cover as much as 98% of the UK population by 2015.
It's also good on the competition front; with more operators offering 4G now, there's much greater choice for consumers with a range of plans that aren't too shabby to choose from. Things can only improve in that regard when Three launches its 4G services in December, promising unlimited data tariffs and no price premiums over existing 3G plans.
The cheapest Vodafone Red 4G-Ready SIM-only plan, at £26 a month, gets you 2GB of data as part of the standard package; with the '4GBonus', this increases to 6GB per month. The same £26 a month only gets you 1GB of data on SIM-only plans from both EE and O2, although O2 has boosted its data allowance by 2-3GB per month on more expensive tariffs until October 31.