Vodafone and O2 switch on their 4G LTE services

Vodafone and O2 switch on their 4G LTE servicesThe UK's 4G's era is finally upon us in earnest with both O2 and Vodafone switching on their LTE services today to give EE some long-overdue competition in the high-speed mobile data stakes.

EE has had 4G all to itself since launching last October, and in reality the network formerly known as Orange and T-Mobile should retain a competitive advantage for some time to come.

That's because of a simple matter of geography: while Accrington will soon become the 100th town or city covered by EE's 4G offering, O2's LTE service is launching only in London, Leeds and Manchester, while Vodafone's will kick off in London only.

It leaves Three as the only network without any 4G coverage at all. Its take on LTE is coming in December, though it too will be limited at first – in its case to London, Birmingham and Manchester.

In general terms, the good news is that 98% of the country will have access to 4G services by the end of 2015, while 4G says it'll be there a year earlier.

Price-wise, O2 and Vodafone are placing the focus less on tariffs and more on content in their bid to woo 4G customers away from EE.

O2's cheapest deal goes for £26 per month and nets you 1GB of data plus unlimited calls and texts, but throws in 12 months' access to O2 4G Tracks, which features the official UK top 40, plus bonus playlists and videos.

You'll also get O2 Priority Sports, which sees well-known sportsmen and women providing help and advice for sporting types, as well as multiplayer access to Gameloft gaming titles outside of eating into your 4G data allowance, and access to O2's 9,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.

Vodafone, meanwhile, gives you 2GB of monthly data for that £26 fee – that's after the first three months of unlimited data – and also gives you a year's free subscription to either Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile TV.

Both networks are offering most of the latest high-end smartphones on their 4G deals, including the Samsung Galaxy S4, Nokia Lumia 925, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and BlackBerry Z10. Needless to say forthcoming launches such as the iPhone 5S and Galaxy Note 3 will get the nod once they're announced.

We say most, as the one obvious name missing from both network's offerings is the iPhone 5. That's because Apple's smartphone isn't compatible with the 800MHz or 2.6GHz spectrums they run their LTE networks on.

Hopefully the new model changes that – we'll find out on September 10.

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21 comments

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 29, 2013 at 13:43

I think I'll wait for 5G!

AhmadCentral  Aug. 29, 2013 at 15:23

No mention of Three's free 4G offering?

matt101101 / MOD  Aug. 29, 2013 at 15:32

No mention of Three's free 4G offering?
I don't want to pay for 4G, but I'll definitely be moving to Three for my next contract. The One Plan is just too much of a bargain to pass up.

AhmadCentral  Aug. 29, 2013 at 15:57

No mention of Three's free 4G offering?
I don't want to pay for 4G, but I'll definitely be moving to Three for my next contract. The One Plan is just too much of a bargain to pass up.


I've been waiting for them to roll it out. December is when it's happening and i should get 4G here some time in 2014 hopefully!

Treab  Aug. 29, 2013 at 15:57

just good luck if you need there customer services rude buggers there (from 18 months back admittedly but doubt its changed)

universe1992  Aug. 29, 2013 at 16:26

They are not rude just Indian I find them helpful just sometimes the accent is a problem, none of the other networks can beat three's 4g at no extra cost deals.

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 29, 2013 at 16:36

They are not rude just Indian I find them helpful just sometimes the accent is a problem, none of the other networks can beat three's 4g at no extra cost deals.

Have to agree - Yes, some have a strong accent, but I find them on average more helpful, too.

matt101101 / MOD  Aug. 29, 2013 at 17:20

No mention of Three's free 4G offering?
I don't want to pay for 4G, but I'll definitely be moving to Three for my next contract. The One Plan is just too much of a bargain to pass up.


I've been waiting for them to roll it out. December is when it's happening and i should get 4G here some time in 2014 hopefully!

I'm in no rush as my T-Mobile contract runs out in Feb but I don't live or work in any of the initial 4G cities, hopefully Nottingham (being quite big, by English city standards) is one of the first places to get 3's 4G after the launch cities.

matt101101 / MOD  Aug. 29, 2013 at 17:21

just good luck if you need there customer services rude buggers there (from 18 months back admittedly but doubt its changed)
I don't really care, they're all scummy companies and tbh, I don't deal with customer services very often.

AhmadCentral  Aug. 29, 2013 at 17:24

just good luck if you need there customer services rude buggers there (from 18 months back admittedly but doubt its changed)
I don't really care, they're all scummy companies and tbh, I don't deal with customer services very often.


Agree with ya here.

Treab  Aug. 29, 2013 at 17:26

personally it is something i do look for but thats why i like t-mobile they have good twitter support so if i have an issue i dont need to speak to anyone speaking off a sheet...

AhmadCentral  Aug. 29, 2013 at 17:44

personally it is something i do look for but thats why i like t-mobile they have good twitter support so if i have an issue i dont need to speak to anyone speaking off a sheet...

And i agree a bit here as well. But tbh as long as the company has at least 1 good support channel (so with talk talk they have the forums, with three they have twitter) I don't care.

When i sign up i go for best value and what works for me first, then i consider customer support. But usually you can just write to head office if it's a major issue. I can sort out the smaller issues myself.

shuwaz  Sep. 2, 2013 at 10:59

i'm on the infamous 'One Plan' with Three of course. It's been fabulous since the fiasco of previously putting me on a low user plan for two months (which ended up costing me £20 a month extra). I can't wait for the switch to 4G but as I'm in the North Yorkshire region it'll probably be in the second quarter of 2014 before I see such speeds. Thankfully my work mobile is EE and working next door to one of their main offices 4G has been there a while now.

matt101101 / MOD  Sep. 2, 2013 at 11:58

i'm on the infamous 'One Plan' with Three of course. It's been fabulous since the fiasco of previously putting me on a low user plan for two months (which ended up costing me £20 a month extra). I can't wait for the switch to 4G but as I'm in the North Yorkshire region it'll probably be in the second quarter of 2014 before I see such speeds. Thankfully my work mobile is EE and working next door to one of their main offices 4G has been there a while now.

I'm quite looking forward to free 4G from Three...all I need is to move networks and get a new phone haha :p!

Yeah, I can't imagine that North Yorkshire is high on Three's list of places to enable 4G connectivity, I feel sorry for you and the five other people who live up there ;).

shuwaz  Sep. 2, 2013 at 12:18

Aah yes Nottingham, I remember it last time we had a company visit... godforsaken place.

AhmadCentral  Sep. 2, 2013 at 12:19

Nottingham will get 4G Q1 2014.

matt101101 / MOD  Sep. 2, 2013 at 12:45

Nottingham will get 4G Q1 2014.
Any word on when Hull will be getting it? I've got both work and family up there, which means relatively frequent visits. I know it was one of the first places EE had 4G, so I'm kinda hoping the same it true for Three.

matt101101 / MOD  Sep. 2, 2013 at 12:46

Aah yes Nottingham, I remember it last time we had a company visit... godforsaken place.
Yeah...to be honest, I can't really argue with that haha :p.

AhmadCentral  Sep. 2, 2013 at 12:47

Nottingham will get 4G Q1 2014.
Any word on when Hull will be getting it? I've got both work and family up there, which means relatively frequent visits. I know it was one of the first places EE had 4G, so I'm kinda hoping the same it true for Three.


According to the list i've seen it's not up for Q1 switch on.

But my list is from June so a whole lot of things could have changed.

matt101101 / MOD  Sep. 2, 2013 at 12:52

Nottingham will get 4G Q1 2014.
Any word on when Hull will be getting it? I've got both work and family up there, which means relatively frequent visits. I know it was one of the first places EE had 4G, so I'm kinda hoping the same it true for Three.


According to the list i've seen it's not up for Q1 switch on.

But my list is from June so a whole lot of things could have changed.

That doesn't surprise me, I was surprised when EE switched their 4G on so early in Hull. If someone had have asked me when I thought Hull would be getting Three's 4G, I would have guessed at Q2 2014, as it's not exactly the biggest city in the country. Even without 4G, I know Hull still has good H+ coverage, which is all I'll get anyway until I upgrade from the Note 2.

AhmadCentral  Sep. 2, 2013 at 12:59

Nottingham will get 4G Q1 2014.
Any word on when Hull will be getting it? I've got both work and family up there, which means relatively frequent visits. I know it was one of the first places EE had 4G, so I'm kinda hoping the same it true for Three.


According to the list i've seen it's not up for Q1 switch on.

But my list is from June so a whole lot of things could have changed.

That doesn't surprise me, I was surprised when EE switched their 4G on so early in Hull. If someone had have asked me when I thought Hull would be getting Three's 4G, I would have guessed at Q2 2014, as it's not exactly the biggest city in the country. Even without 4G, I know Hull still has good H+ coverage, which is all I'll get anyway until I upgrade from the Note 2.


You can take a look at my post over on DS if you want the full list- http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showpost.php?p=68390302&postcount=159

But like i said, could be wrong. But it's most likely.

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