Here in the UK - if you want to take advantage of 4G on your BlackBerry 10 smartphone you have to be with EE, who were the first UK network to roll out LTE. That's all about to change as on August 29th O2 will follow suit and switch on 4G in three cities for starters.
Clearly the new O2 service will be somewhat behind in terms of coverage compared to EE and they sure have some catching up to do. 4GEE is now available in 95 UK towns and cities and will cover more than 100 by the end of August, covering 60% of the population. Compare that to what you'll see in the following press release from O2 and the race is on.
Fingers crossed the other non 4G UK networks will be releasing news soon - although they will still be in the catch up game.
O2 today sets out its plans for its 4G network launch later this month, which will make it the fastest growing 4G network in the UK. The superfast 4G network will be switched on in London, Leeds and Bradford on 29th August, reaching up to five million people from launch. O2's ambitious rollout plan aims to make 4G available to an additional two million people per month, culminating in O2's 2G, 3G and 4G network reaching 98% of the UK population both indoor and outdoor.
By the end of the year, O2's 4G network will be live in 13 cities. Further detail relating to the specific switch-on dates will be announced over the coming weeks.
London | Leeds | Bradford | Birmingham | Newcastle | Glasgow | Liverpool |
Nottingham | Leicester | Coventry | Sheffield | Manchester | Edinburgh
To allow as many people as possible to experience and enjoy the benefits of 4G, O2 is launching a range of tariffs starting at £26 a month, which come complete with a 30 day Happiness Guarantee for customers who sign up direct from O2. Business customers will also be offered tariffs for tablets and mobile broadband from launch and Mobile Wifi (Pop Up Office) in the coming weeks.
4G networks will provide faster data speeds (up to 5 times faster than 3G) and a more seamless mobile experience, marking a new generation for the mobile industry. O2 has invested £550m to secure one of the highest proportions of the UK's lowest frequency spectrum (800Mhz), which was released to O2 at the end of May and was fully cleared by Ofcom this week. This frequency reaches further than any other, delivering the best indoor penetration and outdoor reach.
Data usage on the O2 network has more than doubled in the last twelve months, demonstrating the ever growing appetite for mobile data services. 4G will complement O2's current network offering, which includes 9,000 free O2 Wifi hotspots and the more recently launched TUGo, which uniquely allows O2's consumer customers to make calls over wifi and use their tablet or laptop to make and receive calls and texts.
From today, O2 is introducing a new in-store and social media campaign encouraging everyone to be '#O24G' Ready, inviting people to get their 4G-ready handset and free 4G SIM now, either in an O2 store or via an O2 business account manager.
O2 plans to go beyond what has already been offered in the 4G market and bring to life the digital experience for its customers, starting with 12 months free music content for those who buy a 4G consumer tariff direct from O2. Next generation office applications and services powered by 4G will enable O2 business customers to be more collaborative, more efficient and more productive. Further details on O2's 4G portfolio will be unveiled in the coming months.
All O2 customers will also be offered free 4G advice and guidance from an O2 Guru from launch, either in-store or via web chat, to explore the possibilities that 4G will unlock. Business customers can receive a consultation with their O2 business account manager to discuss how their organisation could benefit from 4G
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."
Ben Dowd, Business Director at O2 said: "I believe that 4G is not only going to transform the way businesses work, but also how services are delivered to customers. Start-ups and small businesses should also be considering the benefits 4G offers in terms of agility and being able to engage with their customers in new ways. We will be working with our business customers over the coming months to bring the possibilities of 4G to life, but urgent commitment from businesses and the public sector is also required for its true value to be realised."
To celebrate its launch, O2 is hosting a gig in London at its iconic music venue, O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire. A headline artist, to be announced in the coming weeks, will perform an exclusive set, which will also be streamed live to screens and billboards across the city, as well as on O2's social media channels. All tickets will be available from O2 Priority at www.o2priority.co.uk/tickets. O2 customers will have the opportunity to get their tickets 48 hours before general release.