EE has today announced that they will begin rolling out the UK’s first 4G network on the 30th October. As previously reported, the roll out will happen in 10 cities at launch with a further 6 cities before the end of the year.
The announcement comes after an important deal was reached on Tuesday night between the mobile network operators and culture secretary Maria Miller. Telecoms regulated Ofcom offered to bring the date of the auction and the deadline date for clearing the spectrum from digital TV signals forward. This prompted a peace treaty on Tuesday night after much speculation over legal opposition from the networks.
EE rivals, Vodafone, O2 and Three were expected to launch services towards the end of 2013, giving EE around a 12 month head start on 4G operations, but the new deal now means that they should be in a position to launch 4G services by around July of 2013.
As a result of the EE announcement, 4G enabled handsets have this morning been made available for sale from T-Mobile and Orange whose parent company is EE. Customers on T-Mobile or Orange can now purchase 4G enabled handsets in preparation for when EE switched on the 4G network. EE have indicated that existing customers will have a hassle-free changeover from a T-Mobile or Orange contract to a new EE contract once the service is launched.
The Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, HTC One XL and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE went on sale this morning with the 4G enabled Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE due to be available on 15 October. Of course, the iPhone 5 is already for sale from these operators and is compatible with the 4G service that will be offered by EE.