A new mobile broadband network called EE is to launch this year, giving around 20 million people in the UK access to 4G by 2014
High-speed 4G mobile broadband has finally arrived in the UK with the launch of a new network called EE.
The network, a rebranding of Orange and T-Mobile's parent company Everything Everywhere, combines 4G mobile broadband and fibre broadband.
Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said the new network was the equivalent of "jet engines over steam".
The company was given permission to launch a 4G network following a controversial approval of its plans by Ofcom.
A report in the Financial Times revealed that EE won't be able to launch 4G services on the network until October following an intervention by the Government to stop potential litigation from rival networks. Discussions between mobile networks are reported to be on-going.
EE said its network would cover a third of the UK population this year, with around 20 million people able to access the network.
The 4G service is being trialled now in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff but will only be available to EE engineers.
In total sixteen cities will be covered – London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton. Price plans and other specific details are yet to be announced.
Customers on T-Mobile and Orange will remain on these networks, but the network displayed on their device will change to EE over the coming months. EE said T-Mobile and Orange users would be "among the first" to be offered access to its 4G network.
EE hopes to have 70 per cent of the UK covered by the end of 2013, with around 98 per cent covered by the end of 2014. EE wasn't talking about speeds, but in a demonstration the company showed a respectable connection of 30Mbps.
Four devices are being launched to run on the new 4G network - the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, Nokia Lumia 820, Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Ascend P1 LTE. Two Huaewei mobile broadband dongles will also be available. EE's CEO Olaf Swantee said the company would be announcing more devices "very shortly", hinting at support for the soon-to-be-announced iPhone 5.
EE will also be the new name for a fibre broadband network, available to 11 million homes and offices. In addition all 700 T-Mobile, Orange and EE stores will be rebranded as EE stores over the coming months.
Updating your subscription status