UK MOBILE OPERATORS O2 and Vodafone switched on their respective 4G networks in the UK on Thursday as the LTE battle in the UK intensifies.
Up until now EE was the only 4G mobile operator in the UK, but today sees O2 and Vodafone joining the race, which means that the 4G market should be about to get a lot more competitive.
Those looking to join O2's 4G network can expect to find prices starting from £26 a month, a SIM-only deal that comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and a 1GB monthly data allowance.
For those looking to sign up to a monthly contract with a 4G handset included the options get a bit more confusing. O2's Airtime Plans on O2 Refresh - the tariff designed to allow customers to upgrade their handsets during 24-month contracts - start at £22 a month for 1GB of data and go up to £37 a month for 8GB of data. The monthly device payment will range from £10 to £25, depending on which handset punters choose.
O2's 4G customers will also benefit from a number of offers, the mobile operator boasts, including access to O2's 4G Tracks and its upcoming music video service, Priority Sports and some free games from Gameloft, including Modern Combat 4: Zero Hero and Zombiewood.
O2's full range of 4G tariffs can be found on its website, with the deals also now available in O2's retail outlets.
O2 is also celebrating the launch of its high-speed network by opening up pre-orders for the new Nexus 7 4G model, which will ship on 13 September.
Vodafone's 4G LTE plans are also now in effect. As promised, the crimson mobile operator's 4G plans also start from £26 for a 12-month SIM-only deal with 2GB of monthly data. For those looking for a monthly tariff, Vodafone's plans start at £34 a month, while those who are already a customer of the network can upgrade to an LTE contract for an extra £5 per month.
Vodafone's 4G deals are also available on its website, as well as in its retail stores from today.
Following London, Vodafone has plans to launch its 4G services in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield within a month.
By the end of the year, Vodafone said its 4G service will also be switched on in Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, with the long term aim of indoor coverage across 98 percent of the UK population by 2015.
In terms of speeds, both operators have said that subscribers can expect speeds around "five times as fast" as those on 3G, which means that most users will see speeds between 20Mbps and 30Mbps.
Three is expected to follow in the footsteps of O2 and Vodafone later this year, with the network's 4G network reportedly scheduled for a fourth quarter launch. Unlike its rivals, however, the mobile operator has said that it won't charge users a premium for its LTE services. µ
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