UK MOBILE OPERATORS O2 and Vodafone announced that their respective 4G networks will be going live in five additional cities across the UK this week, following in the footsteps of rival network EE.
O2 will switch on its 4G services on Friday in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, which means that O2's LTE network is accessible in eight cities across the UK, reaching around 9.5 million people. Vodafone will bring its services to the same five cities, with a rollout planned to take place on Saturday 28 September.
This announcement came just moments after EE announced that its 4G network, which recently topped one million subscribers, is now available in a dozen more towns across the country.
O2 CEO Ronan Dunne said, "We're excited to be bringing out 4G network to five new cities. 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."
O2's 4G SIM-only deals start at £26 a month, a deal that comes with unlimited texts, unlimited calls and 1GB of 4G of data. O2's monthly 4G tariffs start at £22 for 1GB data, going up to £37 a month for 8GB of data. Buyers will also have to pay upfront for a handset.
However, while O2's 4G network is now available to almost 10 million people across the UK, buyers won't be able to pick up an iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S on the mobile operator's LTE network yet. Instead, buyers will have to get a "4G-ready" handset, with LTE speeds set to arrive as a software update later in the year. According to industry sources, this could be as late as November
With Vodafone chucking in an additional 4GB of data on all tariffs, its tariffs are a bit more appealing, and it is also offering the two new iPhones. The mobile operator's SIM-only deals start from £26 a month, while its monthly contracts start at £34. µ