UK MOBILE OPERATOR O2 has revealed that it will launch its 4G network in London, Leeds and Bradford on 29 August.
Finally bringing some competition to the UK 4G market where EE has been the only operator to offer 4G services so far, O2 said it will launch its 4G services at the end of August in London, Leeds and Bradford. It will roll out 4G services to a further 10 cities in the UK by the end of 2013, including Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry, Sheffield, Manchester and Edinburgh.
O2 has yet to say what speeds consumers can expect from its 4G network, saying vaguely that it will provide speeds five times faster than its 3G network. If it's anything like EE's LTE network, average speeds are likely to reach around 20Mbps. We've put the question to O2, but have yet to receive a response.
O2 has said however that its 4G LTE tariffs will start from £26 a month, although it's yet to elaborate further on its 4G pricing and it's not yet known which smartphones the mobile operator will offer. However, as O2's 4G service is in the 800MHz band, the iPhone 5 will not be supported. This is good news for EE, which has previously said that 70 percent of its 4G customer base are iPhone 5 users.
That said, O2 has launched its "4G Phone Promise", which means that anyone who buys an iPhone 5 from O2 between September and 31 March can upgrade during their contract to "get their hands on a new phone any time they want". That's not quite as good as it sounds, however, as O2's deal sees the firm offering a 25 percent discount on remaining line rental charges.
Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefónica UK (O2) said, "It's great that I am able to announce O2 4G the day after the spectrum has been cleared for use. Digital connectivity will be made ubiquitous by 4G and become the oxygen of modern life. It is our intention to use 4G to inspire the nation through the possibilities of technology, encouraging people to live more, do more and be more with O2.
"The full potential of 4G is as yet unexplored, but what we can be sure of is that it will allow for a whole new world of opportunity that people are now ready for. Over half of our customers say they use more data than two years ago and even more use wifi wherever they go, to always stay connected. Given this trend, there is no doubt that 4G will transform our lives, be it as consumers, in business or through public sector services."
O2's imminent 4G launch sees the network beating rival Vodafone to market. However, speculation suggests that Vodafone will announce its LTE plans any day now, with a launch likely to take place towards the end of September. µ