4G mobile services to be launched in 16 UK cities

The UK’s fourth generation (4G) mobile service will launch in 16 UK cities before the end of the year.Everything Everywhere- which is being rebranded to EE, will continue the rollout into the new year, and aims to provide 4G to 98% of the UK by 2014.

4G coverage in London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol is currently being tested ahead of launching in “weeks”.

Rivals have voiced concerns that EE had been given an unfair headstart by launching first.

Other cities to get the high-speed connectivity are Belfast, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton.

The news that 4G will be available in 16 cities by Christmas will be seen as good for the UK which has already fallen behind other countries in terms of next generation mobile.

4G mobile technology will mean all of these locations will benefit from improved network access speeds, even indoors.

Further rollout could prove positive to rural areas where fixed line broadband speeds are poor.

EE will offer several handsets to use with the service. Within the year, these will be Samsung’s Galaxy S III LTE; HTC’s One XL and Huawei’s Ascend P1 LTE.

The company will also offer Nokia’s Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 – the latter of which the company has as an exclusive deal.

In addition, other devices will be launched to allow customers to connect existing equipment – such as a laptop – to the 4G network.

The use of 4G will create a huge demand for data – meaning networks would need to be updated to handle the greater traffic.

Rival networks are being forced to wait to launch their 4G services as they do not have any spare spectrum to use, however all operators will get a chance to buy spectrum to support 4G in 2013 when Ofcom runs an auction to divide up the radio frequencies reserved for these services.

The threat of legal action has delayed the auction and led to the UK trailing many other nations that already have fast-speed 4G services up and running.