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4G for 16 UK cities this year – but no firm date for launch

iPhone 5 hinted to be among launch handsets on new EE network

Today at the Science Museum in London, Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced that Britain’s first 4G network has been turned on today. Disappointingly, that will only be for testing purposes, with an actual public launch scheduled for some time before Christmas, though no specific date was given. By then, sixteen cities will be covered, providing coverage for 20m people.


Here are the sixteen lucky cities to get 4G first

Demos at the event showed download speeds of around 30Mbit/s, that’s at least 5x faster than the best you could expect using a current 3G handset. A comparative test at the event showed almost a 7x difference – 4.5Mbit/s to 33Mbit/s.

Everything Everywhere was the company expected to launch the new service, but CEO Olaf Swantee spent more time describing how the company would be rebranded to simply EE. This new brand will sit alongside the current Orange and T-Mobile brands, and will provide the UK’s first true 4G LTE network.


Boris Johnson was on hand to admit that he didn’t understand any of it

Handsets will be available from all the usual manufacturers, including Samsung, HTC, Nokia and Huawei, Olaf also hinted that another provider will be added tomorrow – obviously a reference to the Apple iPhone 5 launch.


Staff in the new EE stores will be accredited on specific operating systems

All Orange and T-Mobile shops will be rebranded as EE stores in the near future, as will the actual network of masts, but you’ll be able to buy handsets on any of the three networks from these stores. E-E will also offer fibre-based broadband to customers (presumably unbundled BT fibre-to-cabinet), so you can pick up a complete broadband package from the company.

We look forward to getting our hands on a working handset soon, so we can undertake our own speed tests.

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