Mobile network O2 has announced that its 4G service will launch in the UK on 29 August.
The new network, which it claims will be up to five times faster than , will be switched on in London, Leeds and Bradford first, followed by a further 10 cities before the end of 2013.
O2, which is owned by Spain's Telefonica, aims to make the service
available to five million people on launch and an additional two million
people per month thereafter. It aims for its 4G network to reach 98 per
cent of the UK population by 2015.
It will be the second 4G network to launch in the UK, after EE, which
launched its 4G services to 20 million people eight months ago across
O2 will therefore be playing catch-up with EE, which has also already
rolled out "double-speed" 4G in 15 cities, and stated that by the end
of June, it had 687,000 customers signed up to its new network.
O2 invested £550m to secure the 800MHz spectrum at the 4G auction
earlier this year, but was tight-lipped on a launch date. It has,
however, beaten rivals Vodafone and Three in launching 4G, and claimed
that it will be differentiating itself by "bringing to life the digital
experience for its customers".
It said this would start with 12 months free music content for consumers that buy a 4G tariff directly from O2.
The mobile operator will offer 4G phones such as the Sony Xperia SP, Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Nokia Lumia 925 and the BlackBerry Z10. The iPhone 5 will not initially be offered on O2's 4G network.
O2's cheapest tariff will be £26 per month, but details on what is
included in the tariff and what alternatives will be available are yet
to be disclosed. In comparison, EE's cheapest tariff is £21 per month,
albeit with a capped data limit of just 500MB.
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