TECH

O2 To Launch 4G Network In UK On 29 August

01/08/2013 08:09 | Updated 30 September 2013

O2 has announced that it will launch its 4G LTE mobile network on 29 August, becoming the first competitor to EE to roll out the service in the UK.

EE became the UK's first 4G network in October 2012, after Ofcom allowed it to use its existing 1,800MHz spectrum for 4G service.

Since then the UK's other networks have been racing to catch up, purchasing their own spectrum in an Ofcom auction in February.

O2's parent company Telefonica paid about £550m for its 4G license, which will use the 800MHz spectrum.

O2's LTE service will initially only be available in Leeds, Bradford and London, though it plans to extend that coverage to 10 more cities by the end of 2013. It said about 5 million people will be covered at launch, with 2 million more added every week.

The network will offer much higher data transfer speeds that 3G, though it will be limited to certain handsets - not including the iPhone.

It has been known for months that O2's network would not be compatible with Apple's flagship handset, though the company's CEO Ronan Dunne said he would be "gobsmacked" if the issue was not addressed by future Apple products.

It is also likely that in some areas where EE has been able to install upgraded equipment O2's 4G speeds will lag behind its competitor's.

O2's lowest tier 4G tariff will cost £26 a month, compared to £21 a month for EE's lowest basic rate for voice and data - though it's not known exactly what will be included in those prices.

O2 said 4G customers would be given "free music content" for 12 months - though what that entails isn't clear.

However, O2 has confirmed that like EE it will offer no "unlimited" plans, disappointing users who use large amounts of data - or would, if they had the option.

The other UK networks are expected to launch their own 4G services later this summer.

In a statement Ronan Dunne said:

"It’s great that I am able to announce O2 4G the day after the spectrum has been cleared for use. Digital connectivity will be made ubiquitous by 4G and become the oxygen of modern life. It is our intention to use 4G to inspire the nation through the possibilities of technology, encouraging people to live more, do more and be more with O2.

“The full potential of 4G is as yet unexplored, but what we can be sure of is that it will allow for a whole new world of opportunity that people are now ready for. Over half of our customers say they use more data than two years ago and even more use wifi wherever they go, to always stay connected. Given this trend, there is no doubt that 4G will transform our lives, be it as consumers, in business or through public sector services.”

  • 1 Apple iPhone 6s
  • The iPhone 6s on the surface at least looks like your bog standard update. Visually it's very much the same animal but look a little deeper and this is an entirely different phone. There's now a pressure-sensitive display utilising a feature called 'Force Touch' while a blistering new processor means it's one of the most capable gaming devices outside of your living room.
  • 2 Google Nexus 5X
  • The Nexus 5X strikes the ultimate balance between power and affordability. Taking over the responsibility from the frankly excellent Nexus 5, Google's new smartphone boast an ultra-light body but still crams in a fingerprint sensor, the latest version of Android marshmallow and a Full-HD display.
  • 3 HTC One A9
  • The HTC One A9 is the iPhone for people who love Android. There's simply no denying the design similarities between the two phones. Thankfully HTC's packed this with more flagship features than you can shake a indecently sized stick at. There's a fingerprint reader, 5-inch Full-HD display, 13MP camera and the A9 can play high-resolution audio.
  • 4 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
  • Sony has created the world's first truly 4K smartphone. While you might be wondering why, the fact is they've gone ahead and done it anyway. Utilising Sony's amazing screen expertise it should come as no surprise to learn the display is an absolute stunner. There's a fingerprint reader and the ability to play high-res audio.
  • 5 Google Nexus 6P
  • The Google Nexus 6P is Google's answer to the big-screen phone. Sporting a 5.7-inch Full-HD panel, the 6P has a beautifully thin unibody enclosure while the subtle fingerprint scanner on the back can be used for security and for paying. You'll also get the added advantage of owning a phone that'll always get Google's Android software before anyone else keeping it safer than ever.
  • 6 LG G4
  • The LG G4 is LG's most advanced smartphone yet. Combining a massive 5.5-inch 2K display with a powerful F1.8 lens camera this is a phone that means business. If you can get past the size of it then you'll be richly rewarded. Thanks to that F1.8 lens LG claims that the G4 is the closest you'll get to a professional SLR on a smartphone without spending thousands on a camera.
  • The Galaxy S6 Edge is probably the most advanced phone available right now. With it's stunningly curved 2K display and powerful octa-core processor this is a return to form for Samsung that was much needed. If you're after the absolute cutting-edge then this is for you, just don't expect the battery to last any longer than a day.
  • The Moto X 2 is significant for two reasons; the first of which is that you can almost entirely design it yourself. On top of that you get a stunning 5.2-inch display that's matched with a phone that measures in at just 3.8mm at its thinnest point. Thanks to Motorola's agreement with Google it's pure Android and will get updates from Google as soon as they're announced. For now, this is your Nexus replacement.
  • This is the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and it shows the biggest departure from Samsung's design thinking yet. Gone is the cheap plasticky body, replaced with a thin metal frame and smooth leather back. The screen is still 5.7-inches but Samsung's upped the resolution to a massive 2K.
  • The Nokia Lumia 930 is the flagship phone for Microsoft. Running the increasingly impressive Windows Phone operating system the 930 is a serious contender against the iPhone 6 and S6. It also happens to be a seriously powerful smartphone as well with a 5-inch Full-HD display, 20MP camera and professional levels of film recording thanks to four mics for full stereo pickup.
Suggest a correction