EE, Everything Everywhere’s new 4G brand, has announced that its 4G LTE service will go live on October 30th.
The CEO of EE, Olaf Swantee, issued a statement to say: “We are delighted to announce that the official launch of our new customer brand, EE, offering the UK’s first superfast mobile 4G and fibre broadband service, will take place on the 30th October 2012.”
“This is a significant milestone for the United Kingdom, and for the people and businesses of our country who will now be able to enjoy the huge advantages of superfast 4G technology for the first time. We are very proud to be pioneering, innovating and leading our industry in launching 4G for our nation through our new EE brand.”
The initial launch of EE’s 4G service will take place in ten major cities across the UK, with a further six getting coverage through November and December. By the end of 2012, EE reckons it will have a third of the UK’s population covered by its LTE service – and 98 per cent coverage by 2014.
EE’s LTE uses its existing 1800MHz spectrum, and other operators will have to wait until after the big 4G spectrum auction, before they can roll out their 4G offerings (next spring).
Even then, the iPhone 5, for example, won’t work on 2.6GHz or 800MHz – the spectrum being auctioned – as the international version of the iPhone 5 only supports 1800MHz in terms of 4G spectrum. Apple may produce a new variant next year, however, which might cover the other spectrum bands (who knows).
EE is boasting about the availability of not just the iPhone 5 with 4G, but the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820, HTC One XL and the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE.
All these, save for the Lumias, are available now and you can take a handset with either Orange or T-Mobile currently, then switch over to the EE 4G brand when it goes live at the end of the month.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE will also be available from October 15th, although there’s no confirmed release date for Nokia’s new Windows Phone 8 Lumia handsets.
For those who don’t want to go with EE for super-fast surfing, your best alternative option for now is HSPA+. For example, Three is rolling out its HSPA+42 network currently, and this offers pretty fast download speeds, as we discussed in this dongle news story yesterday – not too far off the LTE mark (though any connection speed can vary considerably, of course, depending on all sorts of issues).