The UK has only recently joined the 4G party, finally giving smartphone owners a faster networking alternative to the older 3G standard. If you are one of the many people asking when will I get 4G coverage, then hopefully this will help you to work out when you will be able to make the transition to superfast mobile connectivity. Here is a breakdown of the progress of the 4G rollout on a network-by-network basis.
EE, previously known as Everything Everywhere before its big rebrand, was the first UK network provider to launch a 4G service, which it did back in the autumn of 2012. EE gradually rolled out 4G mobile broadband coverage across the UK and at the time of writing it has extended its high speed networks to provide this type of connectivity in 74 towns and cities, with many more planned to go live before the end of the year. Based on current coverage, EE boasts that over 50 per cent of Brits can access its 4G services if they have a compatible device and the right price plan.
T-Mobile & Orange
You may not be aware of it, but back in 2010 T-Mobile and Orange merged to form EE, which means they are merely brands of the country’s largest network provider. If you are a customer of Orange or T-Mobile then you can use EE’s 4G service as soon as it is available in your area. Since T-Mobile and Orange 4G coverage will share the same limits as EE, you need to take this into account before you invest in a cutting-edge handset.
Although Vodafone has not committed to a specific launch date for its own 4G service in the UK, it did recently confirm that it would be rolling it out by late summer, according to CNet. In addition it is spending over 900 million on securing its stake in the 4G spectrum and rolling out the coverage to as many areas as possible.
There are various rumours circulating around Vodafone’s decision to hold a late summer launch for 4G.
The Vodafone 4G Launch is said to align with Apple’s next iPhone release as the current iPhone 5 is not compatible with Vodafone’s slice of the spectrum.
O2 is in the same boat as Vodafone in that it has yet to give its users a firm date on which they can expect its 4G service to launch, instead implying that it will be made available in the third quarter of 2013. You can expect it to come at about the same time as the Vodafone 4G launch and there are even rumours that O2 will be partnering with BT to help the telecoms giant create its own 4G service.
O2′s 4G plans are laid out plainly on its website, where it states that it expects to provide 4G coverage for 98% of the UK population by 2015. This is two years earlier than Ofcom’s deadline of 2017.
The UK’s smallest independent network provider was planning to get 4G coverage out to its customers towards the end of 2013, although it now looks as though it will have to speed up its plans for rollout given that EE, O2 and Vodafone could all be ready for the next-gen battle before the autumn arrives. 3 is in the process of negotiating with EE to determine how it can use the portion of the network spectrum it acquired earlier in the year at auction. It may be fourth in the market when it comes to subscriber numbers, but 3′s user base is still growing and it could outdo its rivals if it lives up to an earlier promise of making 4G packages the same price as 3G alternatives.
Want to know whether 4G is in your area? Check here.
When my network get 4G Coverage?
Provided you are with one of the major networks, your operator should start to roll out 4G coverage across the country within the next 12 months. O2 & Vodafone look set to start rolling it out around the end of the summer. Three should receive 4G as we edge into 2014.
Already got access to the fast lane of 4G internet? Here’s the best mobile web browsers for your 4G smartphone.